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Herndon woman kicks her way to gold at taekwondo national championship

Herndon mother takes home gold at AAU Taekwondo National Championships

Some of the best amateur taekwondo athletes in the United States spent the last week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, competing at the AAU Taekwondo National Championship.

Competitors dressed in all-white uniforms followed the rules set by the Amateur Athletic Union Taekwondo Handbook and were judged on technique, power, focus, rhythm, grace and beauty.

Elena Kelley of Herndon, Virginia, is bringing home the national championship in the 33-42 female bracket in the traditional open forms in poomsae.

鈥(A) 41-year-old mom with two children, with a full-time job 鈥 not bad,鈥 Kelley said.

What makes this achievement even more impressive is that Kelley has only been studying taekwondo for three years 鈥 she said she is proof that taekwondo is for everyone.

鈥淚f it inspires some women to start doing taekwondo, I will be very happy,” Kelley told 今日看料.

elena kelley
Elena Kelley of Herndon, Virginia, is bringing home the gold after the AAU Taekwondo National Championship. (Courtesy Brian Kelley)
Kelley stands holding a gold medal while wearing her white taekwondo uniform. Her young daughter, wearing a blue shirt, hugs her side.
Kelley and her daughter, Alexandra, earned their black belts together and still train three times a week. (Courtesy Brian Kelley)
In an action shot, Kelley kicks the air, her back visible as a distant crowd watches.
Kelley was born in the Capital of Siberia, Russia, and she believes the 12 years she spent studying dance helped her with taekwondo. (Courtesy Brian Kelley)
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elena kelley
Kelley stands holding a gold medal while wearing her white taekwondo uniform. Her young daughter, wearing a blue shirt, hugs her side.
In an action shot, Kelley kicks the air, her back visible as a distant crowd watches.

In 2022, she and her then-six-year-old daughter Alexandra joined the family class at Grandmaster H.K. Lee Academy of TaeKwonDo in Herndon.

鈥淒uring COVID, we would go in with our masks on,” Kelley said. 鈥淣ow, it鈥檚 my No. 1 hobby.鈥

The mother and daughter earned their black belts together and still train three times a week.

Kelley said she was born in the Capital of Siberia, Russia, and that the 12 years she spent studying dance helped her with taekwondo.

鈥淎bsolutely coordination, flexibility and a desire to win,鈥 Kelley said.

Since winning the national championship and scoring a 3rd place medal in sparring, Kelley has heard from a lot of friends.

鈥淚 got a lot of texts,” she said, including one from an older friend that read 鈥淲hen I grow up, I want to be you.鈥

When Kelley is not competing for championships, she works as program control analyst at the MIL Corporation.

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