The South Korean national news highlighted the small team from Colorado Springs as soon as they arrived. Exhilaration spread as the athletes and coaches of the Academy of Life and Leadership Taekwondo (ALL TKD) realized their dream had come true. After traveling 24 hours to Namyangju , where the world taekwondo competition was to be held, the confident team soon competed against 7 other countries. Then excitement spread in the United States as the news here announced that the 9-person Demo Team had won the silver medal! The thrill and the stories now abound locally as the team returns sporting several Korean trophies and medals. Absolute delight circulates the ALL TKD Briargate School, as they display awards and photos as proof that their dedicated practice under taekwondo Coach Olympian Barb Kunkel, world-class Choreographer Kristi Glaze and unmatched gymnastics Coach Suzanne Himka paid off.
Back Row: Andre Sublette, Cameron Sublette, Creston Jones, Dillen Schmitt, Josiah Manzanares, Olympian Coach Barb Kunkel, Alyssa Allen, Jennice Jones, Rebecca Cremo Front Row: Spirit Member Daniel Cha, Josh Sallee, Gymnastics Coach Suzanne Himka, Dance/Choreographer Coach Kristi Glaze, Angela Sallee, Amy Grigg, Megan Sallee, Cindi Sallee
How perfectly exciting to be part of a team that represented the United States so well! Even after long hours of travel, change of diet and climate, each athlete met the challenges with a positive attitude. Thanks to Korean host families, they had a chance to acclimate for a few days. Competitor Rebecca Cremo describes, “before the Festival began, we were given the opportunity to stay with wonderful people, who took us sightseeing, cooked for us and made us feel extremely welcome. The time we spent with them was most fulfilling.”
Leaving their host families, TEAM USA, as they were now called, moved into dorms at Konkuk University and Opening Ceremonies at the World Hanmadang Festival began. That, in itself, was a captivating experience with traditional Korean dancing, music and martial arts performances. (view video at www.alltkd.com) Then the day arrived when competition began and they were ready. First up, were Champions Alyssa Allen, Rebecca Cremo, and Megan Sallee, who won bronze in Creative Poomse (a combination of traditional taekwondo movements set to music). Next came Andre Sublette, who won silver in the male Junior board-breaking division, and then in the Women’s board-breaking, Rebecca Cremo and Cindi Sallee both won bronze. All members of TEAM USA competed and each is to be commended as they gained international recognition from the audience and judges.
Finally, when TEAM USA was announced, and the athletes who were to perform the 7-minute demonstration stepped forward, the USA members in the stands went wild. Choreographer Kristi Glaze tells the story behind the performance, “The idea of the choreography is good vs. evil (angels vs. demons) over a lost soul. The main character is supposed to be dressed in blue, demons in black, and angels in white, but we were not allowed to wear those colors in competition. ”
The general public may view this awe-inspiring exhibition at www.family-taekwondo.com. Turn up the volume and witness the thought-provoking music, enlarge the screen to capture the angels and demons fight. Watch everyone in the arena drop what they’re doing and become fully absorbed as TEAM USA performs the powerful combination of taekwondo, gymnastics, dance, and out-of-the-box choreography that won the silver medal.