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Meet the Junior Olympics gold medalist who is kicking boundaries wide open

Michael Tan received five medals at the AAU Junior Olympics, including three gold medals

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Michael Tan is not your ordinary middle schooler. The 12-year-old from Roseville has a black belt in Taekwondo and recently returned from Iowa with five medals in the AAU Junior Olympics.

As to what inspired him to enter Taekwondo, Tan said it's tied his dad, Jet Li, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies.

At just five years old, Tan began his journey in Taekwondo. Seven years later, he achieved black belt status. 

"One hour for a 5-mile run," Tan explained. "In the last two and half hours, you do 500 pushups, 500 sit-ups, 1,000 squats and 1,000 jumping jacks."

He couldn't stop there either. In the recent AAU Junior Olympics in Iowa, he returned home with five medals, including three golds, one silver and one bronze.

And these accomplishments made for some proud parents.

"In the beginning, it was very touch and go when he was younger," said Michael Tan Sr. "But he proceeded on and accomplished a lot of great things. He's just someone to be proud of." 

Tan currently trains at Legend Martial Arts in Roseville and his current headmaster realized Michael was special a long time ago.

"Very, very good student," said Dong Hu, headmaster. Every class he gives 100%, every class. He never leaves the studio without a sweat. He's physically very strong, and mentally, he never gives up. He doesn't like skipping class. He's always here every class and his work ethic is fantastic." 

While Tan manages his busy schedule of Taekwondo, school and soccer practice, he wants to inspire other kids to work hard.

"No matter who you are, big, tall, skinny, little, big, you can come out here and do some Taekwondo. Never give up," said Tan.


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