Winnipeg taekwondo Olympian hosts day of free training for women

Winnipeg women and girls of all ages were able to get some free training from a taekwondo Olympian on Saturday.

Resounding shouts could be heard among the kicks, blocks and punches of dozens gathered at the Tae Ryong Park Academy dojang led by Paris, France-bound Skylar Park.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg’s Taekwondo World Champion'

Winnipeg’s Taekwondo World Champion

“I wanted to do an event like this for a really long time, and just get all the girls and the women in my community together in one place,” Park said.

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“Taekwondo has given me so much confidence and the ability to dream big, which is a big theme of (today’s) event. I just kind of wanted to share those things with other girls and women in the community.”

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Park said this is her way of repaying Winnipeggers after they gathered around her with pride and encouragement following her loss at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“It really just showed the power of the community that we have here in Winnipeg, and so on this next Olympic journey towards Paris, I kind of realized how important the community is, and to have them by my side,” she said.

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Park’s dad and coach, Jae Park, said he has been training his daughter all her life.

“Skylar had verbalized her dream at the age of six or seven when she was interviewed by the media. She said, ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’ I think that was always her goal,” he said. “When she was maybe about 15, 16, we kind of realized maybe this is a huge possibility.”

The second-time Olympic goer, said she dreamed of more than just performing on the international mats.

“I wanted to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal for Canada,” she said. “I think part of the messaging today is don’t be afraid to say those goals.”

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Park said she wanted to encourage the women at the dojang today to dream big, remembering back to that first interview she had almost two decades ago.

She said she wanted them to know their goals “are possible with hard work. But also to remind them that along the way, you’re going to fail many times.

“It’s knowing that along the way, the road was really windy. But just keep persevering through that and you can accomplish those dreams.”

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Taekwondo athlete heading to her 1st Olympic Games'

Winnipeg Taekwondo athlete heading to her 1st Olympic Games

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