HAMMAMET, Tunisia (April 12, 2018) — Team USA notched its second medal in as many days as the World Taekwondo Junior Championships continued in Tunisia. CJ Nickolas (Brentwood, Calif.) took the silver medal in the male -68kg division on Thursday, April 12, one day after Anastasija Zolotic (Largo, Fla.) won gold in the female -52kg class. Nickolas is a student at Givans Taekwondo in Antioch, California.
Nickolas breezed through his first two matches of the day with a 29-1 win over Somalia’s Abdullah Fuad Dahir and a 23-5 victory against Italy’s Andrea Riondino to reach the round of 16. He then scored a 12-3 win over Afghanistan’s Rashid Sarwari and edged Chinese Taipei’s Cheng-Chi Wei in overtime to advance to the medal round.
In his semifinal match with Serbia’s Dusan Bozanic, Nickolas broke an 8-8 tie with a scoring kick in the final 10 seconds to prevail and move on to the final. The gold-medal match against Iran’s Mohammad Mahdi Emadi saw Nickolas fall behind 5-1 after two rounds and then 13-2 early in the third. The American would rally to pull within 13-8 in the final minute but Emadi held off the charge to win by a score of 18-10 and claim the gold medal.
“I am proud of him,” said Givans Taekwondo owner Ed Givans, who is also Nickolas’ father.
CJ has a 4.0 GPA…he also plays basketball, runs track and is on a dance team at his church called Generation of Praise. His favorite book is Infantry – Born to Fight by his dad, Edward Givans. favorite TV show is American Ninja Warrior…favorite movies are Planet of the Apes, The Incredibles and Kingsmen/Secret Service…favorite singer is Stevie Wonder…favorite foods are Korean barbeque, burrito bowls from Chipotle and Sprite…favorite athlete is Derrick Rose…favorite taekwondo athlete is Alexey Denisenko…his mother is his biggest inspiration…his proudest moment in Taekwondo to date is making the Cadet National Team for a second straight year in 2015 and competing at the World Championships…favorite quote: “Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.” – Mahatma Gandhi. CJ was awarded the 2015 Stanford TKD Athlete of the Year. View his page on the Team USA website.