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Nick Delpopolo is an athlete competing in judo at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA.

U.S.A. judoka Nick Delpopolo has been on the map ever since his outstanding 2010 season. In 2009, when he transitioned to the senior circuit, Delpopolo was only ranked No. 99 in the world. In 2010 he broke out and moved up an amazing 83 spots, finishing No. 16 in his weight class when the year's final standings were released. Delpopolo took gold at the US Open, Venezuela World Cup and El Salvador World
Nick Delpopolo
Nick Delpopolo
Nick Delpopolo - © Lou DiGesare
Cup, silver at the Samoa World Cup and USA Judo Senior National Championships, and bronze at the USA World Cup and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Delpopolo finished 2010 as the top medal winner in his division.

Now ranked No. 14 in the world, Delpopolo is poised to make a run at the podium. Throughout his career he's shown the ability to challenge higher ranked opponents, with an underdog instinct that should be on full display in London. In his first ever Senior World Championship he knocked off the No. 8 seed and finished 9th overall, the best finish by an American since Jimmy Pedro won worlds in 1999. At the World Masters Tournament (reserved for the top 16 judokas) in 2011 he entered as the No. 16 seed. He lost by Yuko (a small score) to No. 1 ranked Korean Ki-Chun Wang. Wang went on to beat everyone else in the competition by ippon (instant victory).

Despite being the highest ranked American in his weight class, Delpopolo needed to fight-off Michael Eldred, an American fighter who qualified for the Games as well. Since only one fighter per country can compete, the two competed in the 'Hour of Power.' Delpopolo lost the first match, which would have sent him automatically to the Games, triggering the start of a best out of three series. Delpopolo took the event in stunning fashion, winning on a come-from-behind ippon in the fourth and final match of the day.

Delpopolo spent the first few years of his life in a Niksic, Montenegro orphanage as Petar Perovic before Westfield, NJ natives Dominic and Joyce decided to adopt him. In 2009 Delpopolo and his parents traveled to Montenegro and found out the identity of his birth father. Nick went to his father's place of business but did not divulge his identity. One day he hopes to send his birth parents a newspaper article detailing all his accomplishments in judo.

An elite athlete from the beginning, Delpopolo was a two-sport star. When he was 5 he began judo in a dojo run by 1988 & 1992 Olympic coach Yoshisada "Yone" Yonezuka in Cranford, NJ. Nick excelled from the start. He was hooked by the throws and full-contract, but his excellence wasn't limited to judo. When he was 8 he took to a different mat, winning the NJ kids state Wrestling Championships a year after starting in the sport.

With his heart set on judo, he moved away from his family at the age of 12 to train and live with 1992 Olympic silver medal winner Jason Morris in Schenectady, NY. After two years with Morris he returned home and starred as a high school wrestler at Bergen Catholic High School. A sophomore knee injury put an end to his wrestling career led to him returning to the Morris Academy as a 17-year-old to focus on judo. Three years later he moved to Boston to train with Jimmy Pedro for two years before again moving back with Morris.

Like most athletes, Delpopolo has his superstitions. Whenever he's at a tournament he brings a pillow, even if that means taking the one from the hotel. "It's just something I've done forever, I don't know why," says Delpopolo. He also likes drinking a Japanese beverage called Bacari Sweat. "I can't think of a time I fought badly when I had it. It's hard to come by though, but every time I do have it I've competed gangbusters." He also likes using a special pain relieving gel called RAW Heat.

An avid reader, the current judoka and former wrestler loves reading all kinds of sports books. His two favorite books are Rafael Nadal's autobiography Rafa and Ten Minute Toughness.

Delpopolo considers his win at the 2011 Great Britain World Cup as his greatest result to date. Prior to the tournament rumors circulated that he was washed up after leaving Jimmy Pedro's. Despite intense training, he had a hard time making weight. He barely won his first three matches before dominating in the semis and the finals with two new techniques and winning by ippon. "People were counting me out, I wasn't even sure. I was asking myself 'Am I done? Am I ever going to be the same player?' It got me right back on track and was perfect, especially because it was in front of a British crowd that really got behind me."

Delpopolo has been dating Carrie Chandler since he was 19 years old. She is also a judoka and is a 5x National Champion and Pan American Champion. "She used to bring me to clinics with her as her throwing dummy," says Nick. "She's 7 years older than me and I never thought I could get her to agree to go out with me, so when she finally gave me a chance I knew I had to make it count." The couple plan to open their own dojo in the future.

Delpopolo is an avid animal lover and grew up with many dogs. English wasn't his first language, so he would refer to his favorite dog only as "friend". While living in Boston he bought Carrie a surprise kitten for Valentines day that they named "Valentina". The one problem was it was unbeknownst to his landlord. A few days later Carrie burned something on the stove and the fire department had to come along with their landlord. The landlord took one look at the little grey kitten and couldn't say no. They have since acquired two more cats: a one eyed male named London and a stray female kitten they found crying under their front porch named Matchka (Serbian for Cat).



NICK DELPOPOLO: FACTS

How tall is Nick Delpopolo? How old is Nick Delpopolo? Where does Nick Delpopolo live? Find out here.

Age: 25 years old
Birthday: February 8, 1989
Height: 5' 8"
Weight: 161 lbs.
Full Name / Real Name: Nicholas Delpopolo
Birthplace: Nikšic, Montenegro
Hometown: Westfield, NJ
Current Residence: Amsterdam, NY





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