Winnipeg’s Skylar Park teams with the Taekwondo family to return to the Olympics | CBC sports

Taekwondo was born into a family of 16 black belts and runs in Skylar Park's blood.

A Winnipeg native, she competes internationally for Canada alongside her brothers Taeku and Braven, led by their coach and father, Jae.

Skylar Park's first coach was her mother Andrea.

“From the start, I've been crawling on the mats… I first put on pads and got in the ring to compete when I was two years old,” Park told Complex Canada.

Park, who earned her black belt at the age of seven, has had a meteoric rise in the sport that has brought her family and herself a great reputation.

She won gold in the 59kg weight class at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Burnaby, BC – a breakthrough achievement that changed her life overnight.

“Before the 2016 World Junior Championships [I] was naive and hungry and excited to show the world who [I] was and what [I] “I can't do it,” said Park, whose victory was also recognized in her father's home country of Korea. “I don't think I really realized what a big moment it would be if I won.”

“They called me ‘the next new face of taekwondo.'”

VIEW | Taekwondo runs in the Park family's blood:

My Story: Taekwondo is a family affair at Skylar Park

Taekwondo runs in the Park family's blood. Skylar competes internationally for Canada along with her brothers Tae-Ku and Braven under the tutelage of their coach and father Jae.

Park's success continued in 2019 with a bronze medal at the World Taekwondo Championships (57 kg) and a silver medal at the Pan American Games (57 kg) in Lima, finishing on the podium in eight of her 11 international events.

Park, considered a medalist in her Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020, was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 57kg competition.

VIEW | Winnipeg's Skylar Park on mental shift after winning junior world title:

My Moment: Skylar Park on her mental shift after winning her first championship

After being named “Taekwondo's Next New Face,” she's learning to balance the pressure of the title and find her momentum forward.

“I wasn't ready to be on the Olympic stage. It's just different. I try to tell my brothers what it's like, but I guess until you get there you have no idea,” the 24-year-old told CBC Sports' Devin Heroux. “Some people go to the first Olympics and they do an amazing job. But I just don't think I was ready for the magnitude of the event.”

All three Park siblings will represent Canada at the Pan Am Games in Chile this fall, but the family's ultimate goal is for Skylar to return to the Olympics to fight alongside her brothers Taeku and Braven in Paris .

“It's so routine and it's just what we do. And you don't think that often about how special what we do and how unique it is,” she told CBC Sports' Devin Heroux. “Some people, even in the taekwondo world, think we're just pretending. “It's real.” Everyone's in it and I think we're working towards this big goal together. None of us take for granted how special it is.

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