Nicola Fairbrother took up judo at the age of seven and earned a black belt at the age of 15. She won a European Junior title in 1997 and won her first major medal, a bronze, at the senior European Championships three years later. She then established herself as one of the favourites for the Barcelona Olympics by winning the European Championship title at 56 kgs in May 1992.
On the way to the final she defeated former world champion Catherine Arnaud and world silver medalist Nicole Flagothier to set up a meeting with world champion Miriam Blasco. Blasco won the final but not without a hint of controversy as the Spaniard appeared to be on the point of losing consciousness when the referee ordered Fairbrother to release her from a chokehold. But 1993 was Fairbrother’s annus mirabilis for not only did she become World Champion but she was also voted European Judoka of the Year. Fairbrother was again European Champion in 1995 and came close to winning another Olympic medal in 1996 but by now she was having injury problems and decided to retire at the end of 1999. As well as coaching youngsters she turned to journalism and worked both as a television commentator on judo as well as editing a children’s judo magazine.
Athlete Olympic Results Content
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