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For Harrison, Olympics first, then convention keynote

Chants of USA will be sweeping the country starting later this week as Americans compete in the Rio Summer Olympics. They will still be ringing in our ears in October when defending women’s gold medal judo champion Kayla Harrison delivers the keynote address at the Providers’ Council’s 41st Annual Convention & Expo: Inspire | Ignite | Impact.

Harrison, who in 2012 became the first American to win Olympic gold in judo, hopes to make it back-to-back gold in the women’s 78kg class. She is slated to compete on Aug. 11, and according to published schedules, the women’s medal round will be televisd live on NBCSN at about 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.

You can follow her journey via Twitter @Judo_Kayla and read her blog posts at kaylaharrison.com.

A native of Ohio, she has trained for many years in Wakefield, Mass., and currently sits on the board of directors of Providers’ Council member Doc Wayne Youth Services. She is the current U.S. Women’s National Judo champion, earned gold in Mexico in May at the world master’s event and was named USOC Female Athlete of the Month for May. She goes into Rio ranked No. 1 in the world at 78kg.

Over the last few years, Harrison has used the hard-earned spotlight she gained as an Olympic champion to draw attention to child sexual abuse. By sharing her own difficult story, she works to be a voice of hope and strength for other victims.

The Providers’ Council will be cheering for Harrison as she vies for more Olympic hardware on August 11, and will be giving her a champion’s welcome in October.