Ariel Torres made history on Friday with his bronze medal win in the men’s individual karate kata, the first-ever for Team USA at an Olympic Games.
Torres, who ranks as the No. 10 male kata athlete in the world, defeated Antonio Diaz of Venezuela 26.72-26.34 to win the bronze medal match.
“All the Glory To GOD!” Torres wrote on Twitter shortly after winning his medal. “My family… WE DID IT!!!!!!!!! Thank you for always supporting my dream and for all the sacrifices you made for me to keep fighting.”
The two-time USA Karate national champion was born in Cuba and raised in Hialeah, Florida. His family to the U.S. when he was 4 years old.
Torres began taking karate at the age of 6 in order to “learn discipline” and contain his hyper energy, he said.
He was still in high school when karate was added to the list of new Olympics sports to debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Torres recalled in an interview with NBC Miami last month, that when his sensei called him to break the news he ran to the bathroom, took off his underwear and with a Sharpie pen, wrote the words “Olympics 2020.”
He vowed to wear them worn them in every competition, including the match that earned him a ticket to Tokyo.
“I’m wearing them right now,” he told reporters after his bronze medal win.
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