It’s been 20 years since the Atlanta Olympics, so let’s take a trip back in time.
Picture this: It's 1996 and we are six years removed from Kevin McCallister fending off burglars and saving Christmas when he’s left "Home Alone."
It’s been four years since the second McCallister family Christmas travel disaster in "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York."
Now it’s time for the summer Olympics in Atlanta and the "Home Alone" withdrawal is really setting in. But then who takes the mat in judo? Hillary Wolf.
U.S. & World
Wolf played Kevin’s tough older sister, Megan, in both "Home Alone" movies. No, she wasn’t the sister who famously told the 8-year-old, "You're what the French call 'les incompetents.'"
She was the one who preceded that famous line with the bluntly spoken, "Kevin, you’re completely helpless!" as he’s begging his family to tell him what to pack for their trip to France.
But years later, here she was in the public eye once more — no longer as an actor, but now as a judoka. The 5-foot-2 19-year-old competed in the women’s extra lightweight division in the 1996 Olympics and four years later competed again in Sydney. A four-time U.S. national champion, Wolf fell in the third round of the '96 Games and the first round in 2000.
The child actor started practicing judo at the age of 7 after watching her brother compete for two years. Three months later, she was competing in the Junior Olympics in her hometown of Chicago. Although she lost both of her matches there, she became hooked on the sport.
From there on out, she says she "rarely lost" and continued to act and do judo until she was 14. Though she says that she rarely spoke of her acting career to others in the judo world and that "Home Alone" was never a huge part of her life, she admits she had some fun experiences on set.
"I mean, it was like a group of kids all together," Wolf reminisced. "[We] would go hang out… and we’d be with Macaulay [Culkin] and all the other kids and Macaulay’s security guard."
She also laughed about the music videos the McCallister kids would perform together on set. (Perhaps they were helping Kevin practice his lip-syncing rendition of "White Christmas?")
But despite her acting success, she quit to focus solely on her judo career after winning the senior national championship in 1991. Not only was her heart in judo, but it became too difficult to balance the sport with acting. Not to mention, the movie directors were never too thrilled when Wolf showed up on set with a black eye from practice.
Wolf is now deeply involved in a different Olympic sport. She married wrestler Chris Saba, whom she met while they were both training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. The pair now runs the Rocky Mountain Wrestling Club, where their two sons, 8-year-old Michael and 5-year-old Dylan, are currently training.
But that’s only scratching the surface for Saba’s wrestling duties. The two-time Olympic alternate will be going to Rio as one of the Greco-Roman wrestling coaches for Team USA. Wolf and her sons, however, are opting to stay "home alone" and watch wrestling and judo online.
While her sons have taken a judo lesson or two, their main sport is wrestling and their mom is happy with that. In fact, her son Dylan won the Colorado state championship last year.
"I grew up doing a sport that I loved dearly and I still do, but it’s difficult to excel in a sport that’s not popular in your country," Wolf said.
The two-time Olympian says she’s adopted wrestling as her sport after training with all the wrestlers in Colorado, and she embraces the tight-knit community of USA Wrestling.
After getting her sons involved in judo and wrestling, it was time to complete the trifecta. Wolf took her kids to see "Home Alone" for the first time this past year when it was showing in theaters for its 25th anniversary. While they didn’t seem too enthused about seeing their mom on screen, she said they laughed hysterically during the movie.
"It doesn’t matter what year it is, every little kid loves to see a little kid beating up these burglars," said Wolf, who hadn’t seen the movie in 20 years. "It’s hilarious."