Best known as the first American, man or woman, to take home the gold at the World Judo Championships in 1984. She was named on Forbes' list of 40 Women to Watch Over 40 in 2013. She has since spent years working to improve educational systems, particularly for Native American youth.
She began her judo career at the age of twelve at the local YMCA. She went on to compete throughout high school and college and continued to study judo throughout exchange study in Japan.
In addition to her prestige as a martial artist, she is an activist and CEO, captaining 7 Generation Games and author of numerous grants for Native American programs.
She is the mother of renowned MMA fighter Ronda Rousey and sports journalist María Burns Ortiz.
Both she and Majlinda Kelmendi are renowned practitioners of the art of judo.