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Profiles in Courage: Kayla Harrison

Kayla Harrison 2012 London Olympics Judo

A formidable judo competitor, the American athlete Kayla Harrison, became the first American of either gender to win a gold medal in judo competition. But Kayla also has an inspiring story of survival. Harrison was sexually abused by her former coach, Daniel Doyle, who pleaded guilty in November 2007 and is currently serving a 10-year federal prison sentence. After nearly giving up the sport, Kayla found a new trainer, began undergoing therapy and later testified against Doyle.

Kayla decided to talk publicly about her abuse when the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke at Penn State University. Six years removed from the abuse, engaged to be married and in the process of becoming a firefighter, Kayla says of the scared, hurt 16-year old she once was, “She’s long gone….I’m at peace.”


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