Local teen garners national attention in Taekwondo
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Madellon Luster came up just short of making the USA Olympic Taekwondo team this Spring.
At just 19 years old, the Harker Heights native made it all the way to the Quarterfinals in a qualifying tournament in Colorado.
Luster has a bright future in front of her, and she says she already has her sights set on the 2024 Olympics, but when she started Taekwondo 11 years ago, she never expected to be competing at the highest level.
Luster laughs and tells me, “I wanted to know how to fight. I was always fighting with my sister so I thought, ‘cool, he is going to sign me up and I can beat her up’.”
Her father, Dennis, admits, “In the beginning, it was just something to give her an outlet for her temper. Then we finally convinced her to fight, she beat a girl convincingly and kind of liked it.”
As she continued competing, Madellon continued to rack up the medals. The more she won, the more determined she became.
In 2015, she started competing in World Class, the highest level of competition, so she put her training regimen into a higher gear.
Madellon remembers, “I started having to put more of my freetime into it and start focusing on it. It wasn’t just a fun thing to do after I school. I realized I had to make it a life style so I can get where I want to be.”
With this level of dedication, Madellon had to accept that she would have to make a lot of sacrifices in her personal life.
“I missed out on my Junior year prom because I had a tournament. I was like, ‘okay, I guess I’ll miss my prom’,” says Madellon with a smile.
Her father, Dennis was just as determined. He got his black belt and coaching certifications so he could help Madellon attend more competitions and take her skillset to new heights.
Madellon explains, “You know how they call Kim Kardashian’s mom the mom-ager? He is my Dad-ager. He has pushed me through everything! When I wanted to quit or didn’t want to compete, he was like, ‘nope, you’re going to do it’.”
Madellon and her father have traveled all over the United States – and even to a few foreign countries - so she could compete with the best, and the two have built an incredible relationship in the process.
Dennis tells me, “That has probably been the most enjoyable part of it. We get to bond and do things together that we couldn’t do just being here.”
Dennis says his daughter needs to work on her strength and stamina, but he feels confident she can make the Olympic team if she puts her mind to it.
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