📅23 July 2012
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By Jesse Pinkston

Blas fought Lasha Gujejiani during the men’s +100kg preliminary judo match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. (courtesy photo)

Ricardo Dunn Blas Jr (aka RJ) is a well-known judoka Olympian.  A family affair, RJ’s father got him into Judo at the age of 14.

RJ fell in love with the sport and never looked back.

“Judo is a Japanese sport that involves takedowns, submissions, and pins.  What I love about Judo is the life lessons I have learned from competition and training.  I love how I use it in relevance to everyday life.”

A couple of RJ’s fondest memories were “my first Pacific Games and my first World Cup medals.  They meant the most because they were the first of my international matches and the highest level medal I have attained.”  Judo has taken RJ literally all over the world and he now finds himself in London, competing in the XXX Olympiad with the best of the best Judo athletes in the world.

“I just spent a month in Japan and I am now here at the Kendal Judo Club preparing for the games.  Kendal is an official pre-Olympic training camp so the coaches, staff, and facilities are top notch.”  This 6’1” beast will be competing in the +100kg category and has no idea who he will compete against until a couple of days prior to the competition.  “At this level there are no easy fights.  It’s going to be a battle getting to the top and I’m ready to fight it!”

Any athlete knows it takes an extreme amount of dedication to excel in a sport.  RJ commented that for Judo, “it takes time, experience, and lots of will power to stick with it through training and battling the monsters in the world scene.  Being an Olympian also adds to the responsibilities of everyday life.  You become an ambassador for your country and you always want to do them proud.

Blas had the honor of holding the Guam flag during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. (courtesy photo)

So training, dedication, and appearance are very important.”  RJ qualified for the Games with an accumulation of world qualification points that was acquired by competing in the worlds judo circuits.  Basically he had to travel to numerous competitions all over the world and earn enough points to qualify.  When he realized he qualified for London he “was excited and proud that I have another chance at a medal!”

RJ’s personal goals for London are simple.  GOLD. “Anyone who makes it to the games should only have one goal in mind and that is gold.  But in honor of the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius so we can only hope to do our best and have that be enough.”  As far as after the Games, RJ hasn’t thought that much ahead.

“My concentration has been solely on the London Olympic games.  But I did put some thought into teaching as well as developing new judo players in hopes of keeping Guam’s representation in the Olympic Games a constant for Judo.  I wanted to take a couple athletes under my wing and concentrate on training them to fight at the world level.  I just need young athletes who are willing to do the work and put in the necessary time.”

RJ is ready to compete and represent the island of Guam.  “I just wanted to thank everyone who has helped and supported me on my way to London.  I want to thank the people of Guam for giving me a reason to represent our beautiful culture and people to the world.  And I want to thank GSPN for giving me this opportunity to take part!”

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