Wisconsin may not be known for Taekwondo, but Five Rings gym in Stevens Point is trying to change that.
Last weekend in Minneapoils five athletes from Five Rings competed in the national Taekwondo Championships… five athletes medaled.
“I’m happy for them,” said Five Rings instructor Steve Decker. “They’ve put in the hard work. As a coach it’s easy to say, ‘go do this,’ but it’s another thing to go do that.”
It was quite the showing for Five Rings at the championships. Stephon Freeman became the first athlete in the history of the state that was raised and trained in Wisconsin to medal in the adult male black belt division. If that wasn’t impressive, he enough he did it six months after a complete ACL reconstruction surgery.
That wasn’t the only first though, as Shawna Marie Feist became the first blind athlete to compete from the gym. bringing home a silver medal in Poomsae in the process.
Along with those two the gym also had three younger athletes compete, Lilianna Rolands (18) who won a gold medal in heavyweight adult sparring. Cheyenne Kinney (14) who won a silver and Benjamin Jore (16) who took bronze medal in Poomsae.
“We worked a lot on your mindset going into it,” said Jore. “You knew what you needed to do in the moments, instead of being really nervous and freezing during it.”
Clearly the moments weren’t too big for the athletes, as they passed every test on the biggest stage. Something that makes their coach proud
“Watching their hard work pay off is… It leaves me speechless,” said Decker