Evan Medell competes in the men's K44 +75kg taekwondo event at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sept. 4, 2021 in Tokyo
Evan Medell made history just by competing in taekwondo at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
With the sport being included on the Paralympic program for the first time, both he and Brianna Salinaro will be forever in the record books as the first athletes to compete for the U.S. in taekwondo at the Paralympic Games.
On Saturday, Medell did one better by becoming the first to medal.
The 24-year-old from Grand Haven, Michigan, defeated Costa Rica’s Andres Esteban Molina Gomez in the K44 75 kg. class, 13-11, for the bronze medal.
“I am a bit disappointed, but it's better to walk away with a medal than no medal,” he said. “Hopefully it's something to build on for U.S. taekwondo in general.”
The day didn’t start off quite as Medell hoped. He beat Mohamed Abidar of Libya in the quarterfinal, 22-19, but said afterward that it was a tough first match that shouldn’t have been tough.
He then fell to Croatia’s Ivan Mikulic in the semifinal, 28-9, and saw his hopes for a gold medal wash away. There was still the opportunity for the bronze, however.
“If you have a bad performance you just have to regather yourself to make yourself do better in the next performance,” he said. “That is what I did. I took my time, went over my game plan, what I was going to do, what I wanted to do and tried to execute it.”