Introducing Jayne Loo: An Athlete and a Scholar

Her Judo Awards: National Champion 2023 (jr.) Nationally ranked no.1 2023 (jr.) x2 Junior World Team member Panamerican-Oceania Junior Championships 2023 - Bronze Medalist x2 U.S. Open Champion

Meet Jayne Loo, a senior at Mercer Island High School. Jayne is an intern with the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce and competes in Judo (at Budokan Dojo) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

She began practicing judo when she was 9 years old, after watching her brother start half a year earlier. She started competing, and when she began taking golds locally, she advanced to the national and international levels. She became more passionate about the sport when she started training for national competitions and wanted to see what she could achieve. She trained at 4-5 different dojos/gyms each month to get the best practice and training partners. 

Below is our interview with her:

What is your favorite memory?
Taking the bronze at the Pan American-Oceania Championships in Sept. 2023

To prepare for this competition, I attended international training camps where I practiced with world medalists and Olympians. I felt the most “in shape” and technically sharp at this competition and many blood, sweat, and tears went into the result. Additionally, when I became the national champion, I was offered a spot on the PanAm (Pan American-Oceania Championships) team. 

How do you balance schoolwork and sports commitments?
I try to complete most of my homework in pockets of time during the school day, for example before school, at lunch, or taking full advantage of class/work time. I definitely value my education so I make sure I make time to finish my homework and study. I currently have a 3.95 GPA.

Are there any specific values or life lessons you’ve gained from your involvement in sports?
Some of the most important principles I’ve learned through judo are discipline and respect. But a unique perspective I’ve gained is seeing the lack of women in combat sports. The lack of female participation results in limited training partners and little emotional support. There's a common perception that fighting isn't feminine. In an environment dominated by men, it’s difficult to feel accepted into a community. I hope to be able to advocate and increase the participation of women in combat sports.

What are your future goals and aspirations, in sports and beyond?
I am looking to study business in college and pursue a career in sports marketing. Judo’s low popularity in the US is how I first understood the power of marketing, and one of my biggest professional goals is to be a champion for women in sports and increase women's participation/representation.

What advice would you give other aspiring young athletes in the neighborhood?
I would say to set a clear goal and remain disciplined. You won’t always be motivated, and discipline will keep you training and working hard, even if you don’t want to. Setting a goal will help you stay disciplined and help you remember what you’re working for. Always remember, the world is yours!