Garcia wants second judo podium at Tokyo 2020

US judoka wants to build on Paralympic bronze medal from Rio 2016. 12 Jun 2017
The four medallists from the women's +70kg judo category on the podium at Rio 2016.
ⒸWagner Meier
By Corey Dempsey | For the IPC

After Rio 2016 surpassed all her expectations, US judoka Christella Garcia is aiming for more medal success at the 2020 Paralympic Games.

Garcia won bronze in the in the B1 +70kg class and looks back on the event with pride.

“The Rio Games were way beyond my expectations! The people in Rio were really welcoming and treated us amazingly.”

Garcia has to balance her life as a full-time athlete with her job as a massage therapist, something she admits can be a challenge.

“I have to stay focused on the big picture, prepare for all upcoming competitions, and managing my massage therapy job to cover my traveling expenses to different tournaments.”

But she still has time to enjoy her hobbies, including reading and cooking. “My mom always read to me and my siblings growing up. I started reading brail at the age of three. [I like] murder mystery and crime books and [also]cook books."

Garcia is inspired in the kitchen by shows such as MasterChef and Chopped, but her favourite meal is one of her own creations, called 'Flavour Bowl'. “[It's] chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes from scratch, add corn, cheese and gravy and mix it all together.”

Tokyo 2020 will be the American's third Paralympic Games, and she's made changes to her diet and workout plans as she targets another medal in three years time.

“I decided I am going to drop my normal weight class and try to be as healthy as possible.” But if she wins gold, she admits her performance of the national anthem may need some work.

“I should probably start practising since I have a terrible singing voice!”