My Name Is... Christina Yannetsos

World-class judo athlete, physician with a passion for sports

Nick Puckett
npuckett@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/30/19

About me I grew up in Miami, Florida, and got recruited to the Olympic Training Center in 2000. I competed on-and-off on judo teams throughout the ‘90s representing the United States. I went to …

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My Name Is... Christina Yannetsos

World-class judo athlete, physician with a passion for sports

Posted

About me

I grew up in Miami, Florida, and got recruited to the Olympic Training Center in 2000. I competed on-and-off on judo teams throughout the ‘90s representing the United States. I went to undergrad at University of Colorado and did my pre-med requisites while training for the Olympics. From there, I did residency and medical school in Milwaukee. I completed that in 2015 and moved back here and now work at University of Colorado (Anschutz) as an emergency specialist.

Emergency medicine is my specialty. I volunteer with the U.S. Olympic Center as a physician. I volunteer a couple weeks out of the year for their sports medicine clinic and I volunteer with USA Judo and Team USA for multiple events, like the Pan-Am Championships and multiple international events. I also travel and consult with the team.

From athlete to physician

As an athlete, I realized how important it was to have a mentor and someone you trust, whether it was a coach, physician or another teammate. I’ve spent a lot of time coaching and now, as a physician, I can relate to the athletes and the athletes can be honest with me about what they’re going through and hopefully I can provide them guidance, not just in athletics, but in life as well.

What I love about Parker

I love the small-town feel and I love we can walk to downtown Parker. We love the Sunday farmer’s market and just the overall feel, especially driving home after work with all the Christmas lights on Mainstreet.

Working with the U.S. Olympic Team…

It’s very rewarding. I may not be on the mat anymore, but I’m fully invested in our athletes. I feel their losses and I feel their wins. I definitely feel rewarded whenever I get to support the team.

How I got into judo

I grew up in Miami, where it’s a melting pot of culture. My best friend at the time was Argentinean, and judo is the No. 2 sport in the world, second behind soccer. We went to (Girl Scout) Brownies and we did tumbling. Her dad did judo and my did in college also, so we sent to judo practice. To be honest, I got thrown around the first couple practices. One day, I said I’m going to go back and said, ‘Those girls that threw me, I’m going to throw them.’ That’s sort of been my motto since then. Just keep pushing past to overcome things.

The importance of getting involved early

I feel that judo gave me the confidence and feeling that I can do whatever I put my mind to, so I really encourage all young girls to participate in a sport. Whether it’s judo or team sports, individual sports or combat sports, it gives you a strong mindset that allows you to be successful.

If you have a suggestion for who should be featured in the next “My Name is…” contact Nick Puckett at npuckett@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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