Ariel Torres competes during the men's karate kata at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 6, 2021 in Tokyo.
Ariel Torres made U.S. karate history 13 months ago when he became the first American to win an Olympic medal in the sport.
With karate being included in the Olympic Games for the first time in Tokyo, Torres defeated former world champion Antonio Díaz of Venezuela for one of the bronze medals in the men’s kata event.
Sunday in Baku, Azerbaijan, the 24-year-old Cuban immigrant won another bronze medal in men’s kata in a Karate1 Premier League event. Torres defeated Ryusei Ikeda of Japan in one of two bronze-medal matches.
The podium finish was Torres’ third career bronze medal in the Premier League and his second this year. He also won a bronze medal in February in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. He has finished no lower than fifth place in four Premier League events this year and is ranked fourth by the World Karate Federation in kata, a discipline in which athletes are judged on their mastery of offensive and defensive movements, instead of actually fighting an opponent.
After scoring wins against Abdelhakim Haoua of Algeria and Furkan Kaynar of Turkey in the preliminary round, Torres lost to tournament winner Kakeru Nishiyama of Japan in the second round.
In the medal round, Torres scored 26.12 to defeat Ikeda’s 25.72.
Torres was just 4 years old when his parents emigrated to the United States. Donations helped Torres get to his first national championship as a youth, and in 2019 he won a title at the Pan American Championships to achieve a top-10 ranking.
Though karate was included at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 last year, it is not on the Olympic program for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.