Taekwondo — Tokyo 2021
2019 World Taekwondo Championships — Bronze Medalist
2019 Pan American Games — Silver Medalist
2019, 2018 Roma Grand Prix — Bronze Medalist
2018 Pan American Championships — Gold Medalist
2018 Manchester Grand Prix — Bronze Medalist
2016 World Taekwondo Junior Championships — Gold Medalist
2016 Pan American Championships — Bronze Medalist
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“I kick my brothers in the face.”
In most families, this would be cause for parental intervention.
For Skylar Park, it comes with her father and coach Jae’s permission…and her brothers' blessing.
“I was born into a family of 16 black belts. My grandfather is a grandmaster, my father and mother are masters and my coaches, both my brothers and all 10 cousins are black belts, and yes, my aunts and uncles are also black belts,” said Skylar.
Over the past 17 years, Skylar’s family has created a disciplined and close-knit community that’s made her one of the most promising Olympic hopefuls leading into Tokyo 2021.
“Taekwondo was just what we did on a daily basis, where achieving your black belt was not a lofty goal, but something you were expected to accomplish as a life skill,” said Skylar. “This was our normal.”
Skylar is also the product of a generational immigration story that reflects the fabric of our nation’s strength and the growing diversity of Team Canada.
In 1977, with hope for a better future, Skylar’s grandparents and four children packed up their lives in Daegu, South Korea and immigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba.
And in 1993, her dad and grandpa opened the doors to the Tae Ryong Park Academy, which is where Jae met his partner in life, Andrea Zanetel, who added her Chilean and Italian heritage to their growing Canadian family.
Since then, the do jang has become the training centre for their three children – Skylar, Tae-Ku and Braven – from the time they could walk.
So for Skylar, it’s always been family first.
And in Tokyo 2021, generations of the Park Family will be represented in every moment that she spends on the mat that brings her closer to her goal of winning Olympic gold for Canada.
Regardless of the outcome, she knows that her success comes down to one simple truth:
A family that kicks together, sticks together.