Sign up for the TODAY newsletter

You have successfully subscribed to the TODAY newsletter.

Subscribe now and get trending stories, celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

'True joy': Watch 2-time Judo gold medalist's jubilant moment on the podium

by Eun Kyung Kim / / Source: TODAY

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter

After Kayla Harrison successfully defended her 2012 Olympic gold medal in judo, she realized it was probably her last time she would hear the 'Star-Spangled Banner' play in her honor.

Watch: Kayla Harrison sing along to national anthem at medal ceremony

So she climbed on top of the medal podium and jubilantly sang her heart out.

JUDO gold medalist kayla harrison
U.S. gold medallist Kayla Harrison on the podium after winning the judo competition.JACK GUEZ / AFP - Getty Images

“I wanted to really remember all of it and show my true joy because I was so happy to be there,” she explained Friday to TODAY.

At the 2012 London Games, Harrison became the first American woman to win judo gold. She earned her second Olympic title after defeating France’s Audrey Tcheuméo on Thursday.

Kayla Harrison
Gold medalist, Kayla Harrison of the United States celebrates during the women's judo contest on Day 6 of the 2016 Rio Olympics on August 11, 2016.Getty Images

“I don’t believe this is my life, really,” she said the next morning. “To go and win America’s first gold medal, I didn’t think that it could get better than that, but yesterday was the best day of my life.”

Kayla Harrison in her match Thursday against France's Audrey Tcheumeo.
Harrison in her match Thursday against France's Audrey Tcheumeo.TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP - Getty Images

After naming her first medal "Freddy" in 2012, Harrison said she lost sleep Thursday night trying to come up with a name for her second gold.

WATCH: Kayla Harrison reveals what she named her newest gold medal

"After much deliberation, I’ve decided to name her Flavia," she said. "Freddy and Flavia, they're lovers. They’re together forever."

Kayla Harrison Won Judo Gold for the USA
Harrison, revealing what she decided to name her second gold medal.TODAY

Harrison said she worked hard not only for her title, but to win over the Brazilian fans who watched the match Thursday.

“I was booed from the very beginning yesterday," she said, a bit incredulously. "I’ve never been the bad girl before, but I kind of fed off that. I liked it and in the end, I won them over.”

Follow Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter or Facebook.

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
MORE FROM today