As London readies itself for the 2012 Olympics, 20 year old Aaron Cook is busy getting on with his strict training schedule which has dominated his life for the past 15 years. At the age of five, in an attempt to stop him kicking his brother in the head with Power Ranger inspired moves, Aaron was enrolled in taekwondo classes by his parents. Much to everyone’s surprise, he loved it and has since dedicated his life to excelling in the sport.
Such is his dedication that he left school at 15 with no GCSEs to focus solely on his passion.
His family has supported him from the very beginning, planting the seed of Olympic competition in his head at an early age. Aaron recalls, “They said maybe you can go in 2008, you will be 17 then. I had to learn the new discipline but I started winning in that and quickly moved on to international competitions.” Based in Dorchester, the closest taekwondo training facility was 50 miles away, a journey his father drove round trip 3 days a week for Aaron to get his training in. He even built Aaron his own training building in their back garden.
Over time, the family moved nearer the training facilities in Southhampton as Aaron’s skill and dedication to the sport took over his life. In fact, it is a family affair now with his brother travelling abroad to film rivals and his parents flying around the world to support their son at various tournaments.
His goal is to outwin Steve Lopez, the current takwondo champion whose record boasts two Olympic titles and 5 world titles; Aaron is aiming for three and six respectively. If he plays his tournaments right, he could become a world and Olympic record holder by 21 years of age.
Aaron seems to be on the right track, having already competed and won againt his idol Steve. And, he is hungry for more. Not sure whether Lopez intends to compete at the 2012 olympics, Aaron claims “I’m not really bothered either way. If he’s not there, I’ll just have to beat whoever is there and, if he is there, then what a way to win a title, beating the greatest player of all time in Korea.”
To ensure his place on the 2012 taekwondo Olympic team, he will need to perform well at the World Championships in Gyeongju, Korea, from 1-6 May.
Reflecting on what a win at the Olympics would mean to him, “Winning a home Olympics would tick all of the boxes and at 21 years of age I will then hopefully go on to be one of the greatest of all time.”
Have you applied for the 2012 Olympic tcikets? Did you choose Taekwondo? What do you think Aaron’s chances are of being selected to compete?