Starting Judo was an accident for Hannah, at nine years old her father was set on getting her younger brother, Paul, into judo. Her father believed that she wasn’t “tough enough” for this sport, based on the fact that girls should not be participating in combat sports. Girls aren’t supposed to fight, right? Regardless of her father’s opinion, Hannah begged her father to let her go just to watch. From the moment, she tried on a judo gi, at the Judo America dojo run by ’92 Olympic Coach Jim Hrbek she was sold. “That gi gave me powers, I felt like a ninja,” Hannah stated, “and it was the only place where it was okay to beat up my younger brother.” Now, many years later, Hannah is still doing judo. She has traveled to over 40 countries, participated in the Pan American Championships, Pan American Games, World Masters and numerous World Championships. However, she will not be satisfied until she is representing the USA, in the Olympic Games.
Hannah was exposed to national and international competition at a young age. She started seriously competing in 2004, which was when she went to her first senior nationals in San Diego, California. Hannah’s determination grew watching the finals, “I wanted that to be me. I wanted to be the best one.” Hannah was ranked the number 1 junior for two years in the 57kg division (approx. 125.5lbs). She was 16 years old when she became ranked within the top 10 on the United States National Senior Roster. After graduating from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School in 2006, Hannah started training with 4x Olympian and 2008 Olympic Coach, Jason Morris at the Jason Morris Judo Center Glenville, NY. After only two weeks of being a member of the “JMJC” she won the Junior Nationals and secured her spot on the Junior World Team. Her victories made her the number 1 competitor in the 57kg division, and ranked in the top 5 in the senior division all before the age of 18.
The year 2008 was a turning point in Hannah's judo career; in the beginning, she started competing in events at 63kg just to see how she would do fighting bigger girls. Hannah won a bronze medal at the senior nationals in the 63kg division, and was ranked number five in 63kg and number three in 57kg. Hannah then went back down to the 57kg division to compete at the Olympic Trials in Las Vegas. She was just a hair away from making the Olympic Team where she lost to the number one seeded player Valerie Gotay in the finals due to a very questionable penalty; which the crowd strongly disagreed with. In the repechage, Hannah beat Janine Nakao for the Olympic Alternate spot. In the fall of that year, Hannah won the US Open which secured the number one spot on the USA National Roster in the 57kg division.
In February 2011, Hannah decided to move up to the 63kg category permanently because she was struggling to make weight. After moving up to her new weight class, she had limited success, going 0-1 at almost every event in the 2011 competition season. Her only medal victory was claiming the 2011 US Open title. Martin soon realized her journey to the 2012 Olympic Games in London was coming to an end when she lost first round in Paris and Hungary, and did not qualify for the Pan American Championships. Martin was ranked #110 in the world at this point, and to qualify athletes need to be ranked top 14 in the world. She decided to focus on training and improving to move toward 2016. Hannah won her first National Championship title in the spring of 2012. Since 2012 Martin has medaled at over 12 World Cups, and has taken medals at Grand Prix’s and at the Pan American Championships. She was also invited to compete at the World Masters- which invites only the top 16 in each weight category! (She was invited in 2013 and 2015)
At the end of the 2013 competition season, Hannah was ranked #9 in the world, and even took 9th place at her first senior World Championships. Hannah was ranked in the top 16 for two years until 2015 and the beginning of 2016 were a little rough on Hannah, she tore her meniscus in her right knee in November 2014, and then tore her left meniscus in the beginning of 2016. Both surgeries held Hannah back, and she just missed out making the 2016 Olympic Team by 100 points. She placed 5th at the Qingdao Grand Prix and 5th at the Pan American Championship. Hannah fell short of making 2016 Olympic Team, but wants to keep pursuing her Olympic Dream. Hannah has a great international career. Hannah is now planning on training and competing for the next four years to land on the 2020 Olympic Team in Tokyo, Japan.