The United States just won its first Olympic Medal in Karate, thanks to Cuba-born Floridian Ariel Torres. The athlete, representing the country, his hometown Hialeah, and the Latinx and Hispanic community, won the bronze medal in men’s individual karate kata.
As reported by NBC Sports, Torres currently ranks in the tenth position of male kata globally. The Cuban-American star defeated, 26.72-26.34 Antonio Diaz of Venezuela.
After his well-deserved victory, the karateka took social media to celebrate with his fans. “SPEECHLESS 😭😭😭 #Olympic Bronze Medalist 🥉 All the Glory To GOD!” he began. “My family… WE DID IT!!!!!!!!! Thank you for always supporting my dream and for all the sacrifices you made for me to keep fighting. Robert young sensei @kenseikandojo THANK YOU, thank you, thank you for believing in me and guiding me in the right path 😭 let’s keep working sensei. Thank you! WE DID IT 🙏”
Torres continued thanking his support system. “Coach Mantilla @javiermantilla3028 thank you for being by my side. Thank you for all the support! We made it happen! 🙏,” he wrote. “Lastly, to everyone around the world that sent me messages and positive energy, thank you from the bottom of my heart!! I felt it ‼️ Again, thank you so much! And thank you for being a part of my journey. I’ll keep doing my best everyday.”
For Torres, this is not the first time he put heavy medals around his neck. The Olympian won bronze in 2018 and silver in 2019 at the Pan American Games, and two silver medals at the Jr. Pan American Games.
According to the publication, Torres won the USA Karate National Championship twice and was a four-time USA Karate Senior Team Member.
Ahead of his final match at the Tokyo Olympics, Torres said he will give it all. “What can I say! This is a dream come true. I’ve enjoyed myself on the tatami. I have no regrets. This is the happiest I’ve ever been. Thank you!! thank you!! thank you!! I’ll keep the focus and give my heart every technique I throw. I’m lucky, I’m blessed & im not alone. I’m so grateful for the overwhelming support I have been given. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that watched all my matches and sent me the best energy. I’ll do better than my best in this final match. I’ll make everyone back home proud,” he concluded.