Budde Receives 2014 Chris Canning Award of Excellence

July 11, 2014, 11:17 a.m. (ET)

USA Taekwondo is pleased to name Zachery Budde as the recipient of the 2014 Chris Canning Award of Excellence. Budde (Maple Grove, Minn.) received the award last Saturday afternoon at the 2014 National Championships in San Jose, Calif.

“A lot of the parents wrote the nominations and wanted to show them to me,” Budde said of winning the prestigious honor. “I was like, ‘Wow. You think that highly of me?’

“It was such an eye-opener; I didn’t realize I was affecting those people and their families so much.”

Now in its 10th year, the Chris Canning Award of Excellence honors Christopher James Canning, an accomplished martial artist who passed away in 2001. He was an honor student, classical pianist, star athlete in football, basketball and baseball and a regular volunteer for animal and homeless shelters.

In four years as a taekwondo competitor, Canning earned his first-degree black belt, won more than 30 medals, including 15 state and three national titles, was an AAU All-American and trained at the United States Olympic Training Center with the U.S. Gold Team. In addition, he was an athlete and student of the year in the state of Illinois.

The annual honor recognizes a taekwondo athlete who demonstrates excellence in all walks of life. Per the USA Taekwondo Selection Committee’s guidelines, Budde personifies all of those attributes.

“His positive attitude and perseverance rubs off on the kids he works with,” USA Taekwondo Olympic Coach Jason Poos said. “Whether he’s working with them in practice or through a charitable organization, he’s bringing that approach day in and day out. Those are the kinds of things that make him such a great person.”

“He’s been on a couple USA Junior National teams, so I’ve been able to travel with him,” USA Taekwondo National Team Assistant Coach Sherman Nelson said. “He is exactly what we want our young people to be: he’s personable, he’s well-mannered and he’s intense in the ring. Overall, he embodies all the tenets that we preach in the sport.”