At age 7, Madelynn Gorman-Shore was looking for a sport she could participate in and enjoy. Little did she or her family know that a taekwondo demonstration during her time at the Collegiate Academy charter school would capture her imagination.
“I thought it was really cool,” she said. “It looked energetic and fun to do.”
“It looked exciting to her. She said that she wanted to do taekwondo, and I said, ‘Are you sure?’ ” said Erin Gorman-Shore, Madelynn’s mom.
Madelynn was sure. Now, the 15-year-old rising sophomore at Columbine High School is among the best. Her progression was gradual — but once she started figuring out the sport, the wins came in droves, said her coach, Darin Carr.
“Madelynn has always been a coordinated kid,” Carr said. “She picked up kicking pretty easily, then she slowly moved into striking before she did her first competition. Over the past three years, she’s racked up quite a few accomplishments.”
But all of that success almost wasn’t to be. Just three years ago, Madelynn was ready to quit. She was still trying to get a junior black belt, and doubts had crawled in. But when she finally achieved that goal, it changed her mind-set, her mom said.
Madelynn is now a full-fledged black belt. She’s also a member of the U.S. Junior National team. Madelynn, who is a U.S. National and Canada Open champion, accomplished that feat earlier this year.
“I cried. I was so happy. I wanted that so bad,” Madelynn said.
The fact that she made the team just four days after her 15th birthday made it even sweeter. “It was a big step. I didn’t know how hard the junior girls are.”
The 5-foot-11, 148-pounder competed for the U.S. in the Junior World Championships this past March in Taipei, placing fifth in her first major international competition. Madelynn’s accomplishments haven’t been that surprising, Erin said. She knows how hard Madelynn has worked, and she’s proud of her daughter’s success.
“When she started, I didn’t think it was going to do this. I didn’t have dreams of her making the national team,” Erin Gorman-Shore said. “It wasn’t anything that we really expected. We just got on the ride.”
And it’s been quite a ride, including, in the past year, more expenses. But with that has come success. Just this week, Madelynn will compete at the AAU Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., followed by the USA Nationals in San Jose, Calif.
September will bring another trip, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the AAU national team trials. It’s another out-of-pocket expense and likely another day out of school. But that’s success at work, and few work harder at it than Madelynn.
“I love this sport. That’s what mostly motivates me — and getting better,” she said.
She practices six days a week. “I don’t come in here thinking, ‘Oh, I have to go here.’ I come in here because I love it so much. I love training and the environment here. My teammates are so energetic and funny.”
So, what’s on the horizon? Maybe a trip to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, if Madelynn Gorman-Shore has a say in the matter.
“I’m focusing on that now. It’s, like, one of my goals,” she said. “It was not when I first started, but as I progressively got better, it came to mind that maybe I could go to the Olympics.”
At the rate she’s going, nobody would put it past her.
Contact Michael Hicks at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.