08/02/2012 11:20 EDT | Updated 10/02/2012 05:12 EDT

Kayla Harrison makes history by winning US' first-ever Olympic judo gold

LONDON - Kayla Harrison made history by winning the women's 78-kilogram Olympic judo gold medal on Thursday, the United States' first-ever gold in the sport.

Harrison defeated Britain's Gemma Gibbons in a final she dominated from the start, getting a stronger grip on Gibbons and managing to throw her twice.

It was the second American medal in judo this week: teammate Marti Malloy won a bronze in the women's 57-kilogram division.

Harrison, 22, is the world No. 4 in her division and a previous world champion. She was in top form on Thursday, dispatching many of her opponents with a match-ending ippon, one in less than a minute.

The bronze medals were won by Audrey Tcheumeo of France and Mayra Aguiar of Brazil.