(Dec. 23, 2020) Team USA Athletes finished out the last two days of competition on Dec. 14 and 15 at the 2020 Online World Poomsae Championships with four gold medals, in addition to one silver and five bronze. These two days of competition followed the live performances and consisted of remote judging of recorded performances submitted by athletes. Athletes had to progress through 3 rounds of competition in divisions as large as 200 in the open divisions that were nevertheless world caliber.
The G-2 portion of the competition concluded with the USA finishing second among all countries, the best result ever for Team USA at a World Poomsae Championships. Stephanie May Fausto and Nathaniel Cromwell's freestyle performances concluded these divisions (more information below), with the USA notching an additional bronze medal from Fausto, bringing them to two gold, two silver and five bronze in the G-2 portion of the competition. Including the open divisions (cadet, junior and family), the USA finished with six gold, three silver and ten bronze.
Head of Team Ron Southwick said, "Sometimes in adversity, we find a way. This year has been challenging for the entire world, and the smallest action of heart or perseverance can change one's perspective. The World Poomsae community is a close-knit group of remarkable individuals who have proved that nothing can stop our sport's incredible momentum. Nowhere is that more apparent than the US Poomsae Team. Our athletes, coaches, and managers have given a World-Class performance that I will never forget."
Added Head Coach Dan Chuang, "The level of competition was so incredibly high at these championships. In some ways, the online format made it perhaps the most accessible and competitive championships in modern poomsae history. I am very proud of the Team USA athletes, coach and staff for having worked so hard for this outstanding team result."
Team USA member Sunghyun Eric Gun earned a gold medal in the Male Cadet (12-14) Individual Division after placing first in both his preliminary round and semifinal round groups, never trailing throughout the competition in this huge group of 192 athletes. Said Gun about winning the division, "I was surprised to see the number of athletes for this World Championship, and I doubted for a moment if I would be able to make it. My mom encouraged me, saying 'there are 200 athletes and someone will get that 1st and you can be that person. Someone will get it, no matter how many compete.' That was the reality. Yes, someone will get it, why can’t that be me, right? It’s an easy answer but it’s hard to see when you’re under pressure." It was the first world gold for USA in the cadet male division.
Also earning gold was USA athlete Mikayla Xiong in the Female Cadet (12-14) Individual Division. It was the first world gold for USA in the cadet female division. Said Xiong, "It means a lot to me because I worked so hard to prepare for the competition and the end result finally paid off. It felt so amazing to achieve it that words can't express my emotions! I thank the Lord above for his daily love and blessing. Everything is possible in life through God. I would like to truly thank Grandmaster Jung Hwan Jin for everything that he has done for me, especially for believing in me. Also, a special thank you to my parents, friends and family for their continuous love and support."
Rounding out the third gold medal for USA was Kaitlyn Marie Reclusado in the Female Junior (15-17) Division. It was an historic gold for USA in this division. It was the first world gold for USA in the junior female division. Said Reclusado, "I still can’t believe that I won the 2020 Online World Poomsae Championship. I have never dreamed of competing in this event since I’m not part of the USA National Team. Right now, I am enjoying the fact that I can consider myself as a World Champion and that I will have the opportunity to compete again in Korea in 2022. It feels really nice to achieve something this big and unexpected. I would like to thank God for giving me very supportive parents ... to my conditioning coach Madel De Jesus for helping me get back in shape and to my mentor Coach Rani Ann Ortega ... Master Jennifer Howard for introducing me to Master Rosalynn Le and Master Sang Jae Lee [and] last but not the least, thank you Master Sang Jae Lee ... I owe all of this to you."
Representing team USA in female cadet was Juliana Candelaria, who earned a silver medal in the Female Cadet (12-14) Individual Division after placing third in the preliminary round and first in the final round. Said Candelaria, "I always believe in the saying, 'Every reward is the fruit of discipline, dedication and sacrifices.' I may not have gotten the sweetest fruit but I got the fruit of my seeds. I will keep training and stay focused. I would like to express my gratitude to my family teammates, Eric Gun, Ms. Gina and Master Giduk Gun." It was the first silver in the world championships in the cadet female division.
Rounding out the finalist Cadet performances was Yuri Kim, who earned the bronze medal in the female division for a one-two-three sweep, and Shawn Seo who placed sixth in the male division.
In the Male Junior (15-17) division, David Lee placed sixth, and Bryson Lovorn placed seventh, rounding out a deep division for the young american athletes.
The G-2 Freestyle Divisions also concluded. Stephanie May Fausto finished with a bronze medal performance in her debut at the World Poomsae Championships in Female Over 17 Freestyle. Said Fausto, "Like many during this pandemic, I struggled with finding space to train and record in ... before finding a location, I spent my time training and created my freestyle routine in my 17x12 ft. living room, through zoom. I'd like to thank my parents, Grand Master, and Mteam for believing in me, helping me achieve one of my dreams, and pushing me to chase my A Run. I would also like to thank the Wallace and Gamez Families for welcoming me into their homes all the times I flew out to California for training. Finally, I'd like to thank Sean Jung from USTC in Aurora, CO and my boyfriend, Nick, for all the support and assistance they have given me, especially during this time of uncertainty."
Nathaniel Cromwell also concluded his run through the preliminary and semifinal rounds in seventh place in the final round. Said Cromwell, "I would like to thank Team USA and Grandmaster Turgeon for the opportunity to compete at the World Championships. Finding space to train during a pandemic as a college freshman has been difficult."
The Online World Championships also featured the unique opportunity for family members to compete together. Family Pair allowed family members from two generations to compete. Family Team A was for 3 team members from 2 generations, and Family Team B was for 3 team members across 3 generations.
In the Family Pair division, April Minh & Silas Minh earned a bronze medal at third place, and Sangok Jeong & Yerim Jeong earned bronze in fourth place. Rounding out the finals was Bomin Kim & Sungjin Kim in sixth place.
In the Family Team A division (2 generations), Yewon Jeong, Sangok Jeong & Yerim Jeong earned a gold medal to top the division. Bomin Kim, Jayden Kim & Sungjin Kim placed sixth, and Cherith Shiba, Grace Shiba, & Maggie Shiba placed eighth.
In the Family Team B Division (3 generations), Maryhien Pham,Theodore Young & Khue Pham earned a bronze with a 4th place finish. Carol Silva,Azura Silva & Nicholas Silva also made the finals with an eighth place finish.
The Head of Team for Team USA is Ron Southwick. The head coach of the team is Dan Chuang, with coaches Barbara Brand, Giduk Gun, Jung Hwan Jin, Sangjae Lee, Huy Nguyen, Long Nguyen and David Turgeon supporting the athletes. The managers are Jan Trigg and Sarah Lavan.