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Young judoko sets his sights on Rio Olympics | People

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Young judoko sets his sights on Rio Olympics
Young judoko sets his sights on Rio Olympics

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. -- Although the 2012 Olympics are over, the spirit of the Games still burns bright for a young judo star from Peachtree City.

Joshua Briggs hopes to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics -- and if this past July is any indication, he is well on his way to doing just that.

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Briggs, 14, placed first in the 2012 Junior Olympic International Judo Competition on July 22 in Dallas, Texas. A week later, he won the top prize in the juvenile 48 kg division at the Junior U.S. Open Judo Championship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Briggs is ranked No. 1 in the country in his weight division. At the Junior U.S. Open, he beat his opponent in less than 25 seconds; the other judoko was ranked No. 1 in Europe while living in his native Ukraine.

Dave Wojcik is Briggs' sensei, or coach, at Ippon Judo and Jujitsu in Tyrone. Wojcik has coached Briggs for more than six years and also coaches 9-year-old Dylan Spelios of Fayetteville, who placed seventh in his weight division at both the Junior Olympics and Junior U.S. Open. Briggs and Spelios were both chosen to represent Georgia at the 2013 National Games in Hershey, Pa.

When he isn't competing, Briggs is a 9th grader at Woodward Academy in College Park. His many recent wins have made him eligible for the U.S. National Judo team, bringing him one step closer to his dream of Olympic gold.