U.S. Olympian hosts judo clinic in Casper

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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Platte River Judo athletes got a special treat this weekend. Two-time U.S. Olympian Nicholas Delpopolo hosted clinics at the Casper dojo.

Two-time U.S. Olympian Nicholas Delpopolo teaches kids judo moves at a clinic in Casper, Wyo. on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020.

“I teach these guys high level international judo. They get to see what tips and tricks work for the best guys in the world. And then while I’m out here, I fund-raise. So by teaching this clinic, I’m raising money for my Olympic travels,” Delpopolo said.

He worked with kids and adults from across Wyoming and other states this weekend.

This was his third time in Casper and he hopes to continue coming back to grow the sport.

“Judo in the United States, niche sport. Small place like Casper, it’s difficult to keep motivated and keep inspired. So that’s why I want to keep coming back here and keep show these guys this is how far you can go. It is possible, you just got to work really hard and you got to make a lot of sacrifices,” Delpopolo said.

It’s also about giving back to the sport the same way those before him did when he was young.

“When I was their age, I never missed one of these things. It was really important to me,” he said. “Whomever the clinician was, I thought he was greater than god. I wanted to touch him, I wanted to throw him, I wanted to show him how good I was.”

He hopes the kids he teaches get that same experience.

“I don’t really care if they learn the techniques, necessarily, but I want them to remember this weekend as something special so it motivates them to keep doing judo for years to come,” Delpopolo said.

He competed in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. He’s attempting to qualify for the 2020 Games.