Team USA judoka Nick Delpopolo will be representing New York and New Jersey in the 2012 London Olympic Games, but his story begins in Nikšic, Montenegro, according to his website. Delpopolo was born in Montenegro and put up for adoption, living in poverty in an orphanage for the first two years of his life. He was adopted by a couple from Westfield, New Jersey, and his life in the United States began.
Delpopolo has been active in judo since the age of five and was a standout high school wrestler until a knee injury ended his wrestling career. His focus turned to judo and the results began immediately. At the age of 17 he defeated Bobby Lee, then then No. 1 ranked junior in U.S. judo, and his career in the junior ranks included 22 Junior National Titles.
Delpopolo was unsuccessful at the 2008 Olympic Trials, leading to his relocation to Boston to train under 1999 World Champion Jimmy Pedro at the U.S. National Training Center. His rise in the world of judo continued, and in 2010 he moved from being ranked No. 99 in the world to No. 16. He continued testing his game at the highest levels and in 2012 qualified for his first Olympic Games.
Delpopolo competes in the Lightweight division (161lb/73kg). Elnur Mammadli of Azerbaijan is the favorite and defending gold medalist. The full slate of Lightweight division action takes place Monday, July 30. Information on all the judo players from Team USA as well as the basic of judo scoring and competition can be found at NBCOlympics.com.