Athlete Trains for Olympic Gold in Taekwondo

IsraelSenior Jackie Galloway wakes up three hours before her peers do and starts her daily training. Jackie isn’t the average student: she’s preparing for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Taekwondo is Jackie’s passion, and it’s in her blood. Jackie’s entire family has received a black belt, including her grandparents, her parents and her brother, junior Austin Galloway. She was introduced to the sport as a toddler and showed normal interest in it, but it wasn’t until she was close to seven that she became seriously involved with it and began to practice daily.

“The real turning point started with her commitment,” father Gary Galloway said. “Her decision to join was framed as a family commitment. My wife and I would support her at every step, and her job would be always to simply do her best.”

Mr. Galloway is the owner of and master trainer in Chang Lee’s Taekwondo in Garland; the dojo Jackie trains in. He is not only her father but her coach too, and has to train her just like he does his other students. He works hard to make sure Jackie is always setting higher goals and reaching them in preparation for the Olympics.

Jackie doesn’t always win though. After losing a national competition, she had to sit down and determine what Taekwondo could realistically do for her.

Korea Kick

“I asked her what she wanted out of this sport – What was ‘The Dream’?” Mr. Galloway said. “For the first time, Jackie clearly stated that she wanted to be the World Champion. So we decided to embrace that goal.”

The Galloways hung this goal on a wall in their home to remind Jackie every day about what she wants and what she strives for and that they support her. She can’t achieve this dream without dedication and focus. Many other countries have an edge simply because they out-train and out-work U.S. athletes, so Jackie and her dad have devised a training regiment to prepare her even more.

“We began two-a-day trainings early before school from 5:30-6:30am and 1-2 hour session every evening,” Mr. Galloway said. “She trains on average 5-6 days a week.”

Jackie also has to watch what she eats so she can make the weight group she needs before a tournament as a ‘Middleweight Senior’.

“That’s the hardest part for me, making weight,” Jackie said. “I went on a liquid diet for a week and a half before the Pan Am Championship.”

Head kick

She won gold in that competition and in the following Israeli Championship, thus establishing her as a world competitor.

“Jackie was Mexico’s Olympic Alternate for the 2012 London Olympics,” Mr. Galloway said. “Now that she is with the U.S., she is already the 2013 National Collegiate Team Member and the 2013 US National Champion. The key for Jackie, at this point, is her International Ranking.”

In the coming month, the updated International Rankings will be announced and Jackie is hoping to break into the World’s Top 10 Middle Weights. She is focused and pushing hard for an Olympic run to Rio and has the support of her peers and the community.

“It’s so fun meeting all the new people from around the world and competing with others of such skill,” Jackie said. “I can’t wait until 2016.”





Since this story was written Jackie has made the US National Team as of January 21st 2014