MEDINA — Like many kids his age, Kyle Gordon wants to someday compete in the Olympics.
Gordon is not a typical kid, however. The Montville Township resident has done more in the sport of taekwondo than most do in a lifetime.
And he’s only 10.
The local recently claimed the national championship in his age bracket at the America Taekwondo United National Championships in West Orange, New Jersey.
“I was surprised,” Gordon said. “It was a lot of work. I was training three days a week.”
While his friends were busy swimming in the pool or riding their bikes, Gordon was working hard. After multiple-hour practices, he would come home and continue to jump rope and work on his kick bag in the family’s basement for that extra edge.
The work paid off, as Gordon walked away with the gold medal in his age group of the black belt sparring division to earn the title of national champion. Earlier this year, he won gold at the state and regional championships in sparring, board breaking and forms.
“I like competitive sports,” said Gordon, who also plays lacrosse, football and basketball. “I was mostly on the defensive side (in the sparring finals) and I waited for him to do something before I did.”
This is not something new to Gordon, who will be a fifth-grader at Waite Elementary. Since he was 4, he has been perfecting his skills at World Champion Tae Kwon Do in Strongsville.
If it wasn’t for his twin brother Kaden convincing him to start, he might not be the black belt he is today.
“Kyle is a different breed of child,” his mother Kim said. “He works so hard. When his master tells him to do something, he does it. He constantly wants to get better and is a perfectionist.
“So when he won, after going through all of that, I was very proud. Words can’t describe the emotion.”
This might not be the last time that his mom sheds some tears, as Kyle Gordon wants to someday represent his country in the sport.
His master, Keun Moo Ryu, is a seventh-degree black belt and a two-time world champion who wants to take Gordon to his homeland of Korea next summer to perfect his skills. The goal is for Gordon to participate in the AAU Junior Olympics by the time he enters high school.
Gordon has already been studying the athletes he looks up to by looking at highlights on Google and putting in countless hours of work at the gym.
“I like watching the grownups on video and learning from other competitors,” he said. “You get a lot of discipline. It’s more of a mental strength and not just physical. It also helps me in school and other sports.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.