Friday, October 25th – Day 2 of competition – Patterns
There was a lot of pressure on me since I won the gold in patterns in New Zealand. I had to change my way of thinking to keep calm. Yes, maybe I had more to lose, but I had THAT much more to gain. Someone told me once, that “it’s easy to win once, but to win continuously, that’s a champion.” I wanted to prove to myself that I could do that!
By this time my ankle was completely bruised and swollen. It was even hard to walk on it but I knew I had to compete. The physiotherapist on the team took me to the medical unit to get taped and then the doctor had to sign the tape to approve it.
Time for centre ring. I’ve always watched people compete on the centre ring and I was always jealous. The platform is elevated and it’s in the complete centre of the venue so everyone can see. My first competitor was from Argentina which is one of the strongest countries for taekwon-do.
As I started my pattern I got scared since the tape on my foot was slippery. Patterns are all about body control and balance so it was a bit nerve racking. When I made it into the finals I was told that I would be competing later in the day but they didn’t give me a time.
The structure and order of the competition was a bit confusing. That afternoon they did the medal ceremonies for the events from the day before. When I was called up to the podium for my Gold in Sparring it felt amazing. There really isn’t a feeling like standing on the podium with the Canadian Flag as they play the National Anthem. I could see all my friends cheering for me and it felt great.
All the gold medalists where ushered off the stage for an immediate TV interview. It was pretty cool since they capture your fresh reactions to receiving your medal.
Later that night they held the Opening Ceremonies (yes, on day 2). I was told that they had chosen 4 finals (2 in sparring and 2 in patterns) to be showcased as part of the opening ceremonies on the centre stage under the lights. I was one of the finals to compete on centre stage!!!!!!!!
So many things were out of my control that day. They changed the schedule of events and now I was supposed to be going up for team Power Breaking. I had such mixed feelings. Our team physiotherapist told me not to compete since I was supposed to do the side kick to break boards which would have all the impact on my ankle and I still had my finals for the Gold in patterns later that night. I was put in as the role of team captain since I had the most experience and together we went to the power breaking station. Fortunately you carry a spare on the team for this type of situation. It’s like having a few more on any other regular sports team. Part of me was really upset since I had trained hard for it and knew I could do the side kick easily but I was also happy for my teammate to give her the opportunity to do it as well. I was so proud how we all supported each other. Power breaking is extremely stressful since you only get one chance to break the board. It takes so much concentration, accuracy and training for proper technique. The team won the silver medal for Power Breaking.
At the Opening Ceremonies all the teams marched in together and stood together with their country. There was so much noise and energy in one room. I walked in with team Canada but my mind was completely on performing. Then all the grand masters and masters were marshalled in to sit right in front of the stage to watch.
I removed myself to the back area to stretch and warm up a bit. I had my headphones on and I like to listen to soothing, and classical music before I do patterns.
This is was what I’ve wanted to do my entire life but now that it was right in front of me I was anxious and I wanted to puke.
My dad gave me a great pep talk that I will never forget. He told me to forget about competing and the girl beside me. He told me to go out there and put on a show and perform my patterns because I love them. I wear a custom made bracelet that says ‘Show the World’ on it. He told me to go and show the world who I was through what I was doing. This was my chance to do just that. As soon as my mentality change, I realised that that was why I was there, at the Worlds, and that this was what it was all about! I felt calm and focussed after that.
I was against Puerto Rico. This was a moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life! The venue was packed and everyone was watching the one centre stage. All the lights in the stands and on the floor were off but the stage was lit by flood lights. The crowd was going crazy as I walked up the stairs to step on to the ring. I was so aware that all the masters and grand masters that I’ve studied under were right there watching every movement. I wanted to prove to them that I had learned from them and did what they told me to do. They are amazing teachers and I wanted to be a good student for them since I have the utmost respect for them.
Right before I walked up the stairs I saw the HUGE banner from my friends back home hanging on the railing held by my teammates. It was like an instant warm hug of support knowing everyone was behind me.
I felt pretty nervous the first few movements and I was worried about my feet slipping with the tape. Then about the half way through the pattern, there is a slow motion movement. It gave me a split second to regroup, center down and really be present in the moment. It was incredible. I was relaxed from that point on. I’m told the room was very loud but I was in my own little world enjoying every movement. It was almost like a dream. All I could hear was the voice of my coach Mr. Parent telling me what I needed to do.
The second pattern I performed was one of my favorites! I was happy with my performance so I was going to be proud no matter the outcome.
When the centre judge raised his arm claiming me the winner I just jumped up and down with excitement. Then I suddenly heard all the cheering in the stands. It was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier in my life. I just became a world champion for junior 3rd degree patterns.
To view hundreds of all my team mates and competitors from that day click on the link below….