The Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang have Ronda Rousey reminiscing on her own journey to an athlete’s biggest stage.
The UFC fighter competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as a judo competitor. While she made American Olympic history as the first female judo athlete to earn a medal for the country, her expectations of winning gold were not made a reality.
Rousey posted a candid mid-match throwback photo on Instagram on Sunday to look back at the competition, during which she earned a bronze medal.
“What seems like several lifetimes ago… my dreams of Olympic gold never came true, but time has made me thankful for falling short of gold,” she wrote. Rousey also added hashtags for “fall down seven times get up eight” and “judo.”
The 31-year-old competed previously at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, as the youngest judoka in the Games. She lost her first match to silver medalist Claudia Heill.
Followers encouraged the 4th dan black belt as she shared the memory on social media, theorizing that she would dominate the competition if she re-entered the sport.
“I think If you would do this now you will win that gold for sure!” one follower wrote. Another added, "Still inspiring me, gold medalist or not.”
Others criticized her, not for her loss in the Olympics, but for her recent move from UFC to WWE after losing her final two matches.
“Did you also quit this sport when you got beaten?” a follower questioned. Another wrote, “And now you’re doing fake wrestling on TV.”
After the 2008 Games, Rousey left judo practice for a career in mixed martial arts, fighting in the UFC from 2012-2018 as the first female fighter to ever sign with the league. Of her 14 matches, Rousey garnered 12 wins and lost her final two pay-per-view matches, one against Holly Holm in 2015 and another against Amanda Nunes in 2016.
While she appeared sporadically in the WWE from 2014 to 2017, Rousey signed a full-time contract with the wrestling league in January 2018.