By Sharron Calloway-Pete
“Mom, I’m going to be world champion and I’m going to the Olympics.” At seven years old, Jackie Galloway had her future mapped out. As the highest ranked U.S. athlete in Taekwondo she is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the mat. She is a champion in every since of the word. But her success did not happen overnight and not without hard work and sacrifice.
Taekwondo has been a part of Jackie Galloway’s life for as long as she can remember. Her parents, Rose and Gary, run a dojo in Northeast Texas. It was there that she was introduced to the sport that she has grown to love and appreciate. With her father, a well-renown Taekwondo competitor as her coach, Jackie spent years studying and competing in tournaments. But it was her decision to compete in a 2010 tournament that would set her on the path to making her Olympic-sized goal, a reality. At the age of 14, she earned a spot on the Mexican national team after competing at a tournament and winning. The surprise was not simply that she won. But that she won by competing outside of her division; at the adult level. “We just went to the tournament so that I could have more experience fighting at the adult level. And I ended up winning and making the national team.” The win was bittersweet. It gave Jackie the opportunity to advance to the next level, to travel the world and be a part of an Olympic team.