Tammy Thornton: Judo Supermom

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On Mother’s Day, Judo Canada has decided to highlight the implication and judo career of one of its members, Tammy Thornton, who’s also a mother of 3.

Tammy was introduced to the Judo community 30 years ago, when she started training at the age of 10. She used to compete, but stopped in 1999. Her retirement from the competitive circuit didn’t mean she was leaving the sport; on the contrary, she became even more involved as a referee. In addition to being very active as a referee, Tammy is also the chair of the Referee Committee and the Women’s Committee, as well as the Women’s representative for Judo Alberta. Lastly, she was chosen by Judo Canada to represent her province during the first edition of the Judo Canada Women’s Summit in June. Many young judokas see her as an example, and that might be one of the many reasons why the girl’s training camp she organizes every year is such a big success.

During her 30-year-long judo career, Tammy has never taken any time off her sport. When she was a stay-at-home mom to raise her 3 kids, Riley, Tyson and Kennedy, she would find a way to integrate training sessions in her busy schedule, sometimes by bringing her kids with her to the dojo. Now that Tammy is back to work part-time, time management is definitely a very important skill to have, because going back to work hasn’t slowed her down in all her judo-related duties. As a matter of fact, she recently went to Costa Rica to pass her Continental evaluation.

Tammy and her middle son, Tyson

How does she do it all? “I’ve been lucky enough to have a very good support system. When the kids were younger, my husband, my brother and my father would help me a lot by taking care of them, allowing me to stay involved in judo. I don’t think I would have been able to do it otherwise. It’s a little easier now that the kids are older, and 2 out of 3 still train in judo, so we can all go to the dojo as a family activity,” she explains. “Now that I’m not a stay-at-home mom anymore, I do miss some aspects of it, like driving the kids to school or going with them during school field trips, but judo keeps us close. Tyson started competing as a U16 this year, and going with him to his tournaments allows me to have some one-on-one time with him. I’m very proud of my kids, and I’m very happy to see that they share my passion.”



Written by Sarah Mailhot for Judo Canada


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