EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW0

Interview with Juan Moreno and Terrence Jennings

The coach of the United States National Selection Team, Juan Miguel Moreno, is without any doubt, one of the most prestigious professionals throughout the American continent. His school “Peak Performance” is synonymous of great fighters.


For those who relate Juan Moreno as a great coach, it is worth mentioning that he was a great competitor in the 90´s. He participated in three Olympic Games and has been twice a Sub Olympic Champion (Seoul 88 and Barcelona 92). In 1991, he became a Pan American Games Championship held in Havana, Cuba and in 2000 he became a Championship of the World Cup in Lyon, France.

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Hello Juan, congratulations and thank you for your time on this interview. How have you experienced this process from Queretaro to today, after the confirmation that TJ and Page got the title?

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Well the process has been very long. We started the Olympic selection in November 2010, through Baku, Queretaro and now here, there has been a lot of pressure, but that is sport, so we all welcomed the challenge and thank God that we were successful.

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What are the mayor factors that enabled TJ and Paige to claim victory?

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TJ and Paige won because they have been in major competitions consistently since the world championships of last year. Because of a good competition schedule they felt very confident with the electronic protectors. Also, they have many training partners to challenge them everyday in training.  And finally they committed 100% to my training program.

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The system of qualifying for the division but not the person puts a lot of pressure on the athlete, coach and administration? Is this the ideal system?

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Our system in the USA is that if an athlete qualifies at the World Classification, they qualify directly for the Olympic Games. This does not apply for the regional level, when they qualify in a Continental Pre-Olympic they have to fight for their position in the USA.

 

This promotes opportunity for other athletes to have a second chance. For example Mark López and Nia Abdallah got a chance to get into the USA team. While it is tough for the athletes that earned the ticket, it is a fair system for deserving athletes with past high level medals.

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What was the first thing that came to mind when the referee awarded the bout to TJ?

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When TJ won, I was satisfied. He is an amazing athlete and I believe it is his time to be on the Olympic level. He matches up well with the other athletes around the world. He did the work for our country and this was his moment. I was very proud because he beat a legendary opponent, Mark López, two different times in domestic competitions. And of course earning the ticket in Mexico was also difficult. It played out exactly like we planned.

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In this moment, many people say that Peak Performance is the best training program in the USA, how do you feel about this?

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Well, first, if people say this, I am humbled and honored. I have worked hard to build Peak Performance into a very serious program. It was a lot of hard work and we are not done yet.

 

Currently we have the largest network of athletes, coaches and National Team members in the USA. I would imagine there are not many individual clubs around the world that have been able to replicate what we have done for the past 10 years.

 

Like I said, I am very proud to have started this but there are always challenges ahead to pursue. I look at great coaches like Mr. Ireno Fargas and Mr. Ángel Alonso and realize that at this point I can grow so much more as a coach and as a sports team.  My goal is to help USA and become the best we can be, with all the great TKD countries out there, I have much work to do!

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Now it is time to move to the final stages before the Olympic Games. What will be the process be for your athletes to ensure a good result in this short time period?

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For this final stage there is much work to do. Physically we have to prepare for intense matches. Technically we must adjust to the electronic protectors. And psychologically we will prepare for the magnitude of the Olympic Games.

 

I am lucky to have been an athlete three times and as a coach once four years ago for the games. I will give all my knowledge and experience to TJ and Paige. This will be a very exciting journey for all of us as a team.

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Any final thoughts?

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I would like to thank masTaekwondo.com for their support of TKD around the world. Also to all of the people that helped TJ and Paige prepare for this final trials. I love you all and I want them to know this was not only their victory but a victory for all of the Peak Performance community.

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Terrence Jennings

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Born in Alexandría, Virginia. Jennings assisted the Community College in Northern Virginia and this gave him the opportunity to be part of the National Collegiate Team of the USA from 2007 to 2009.

 

Terrence has been competing internationally since 2003 and has served on the national team under 24, where he won gold at the Games College in 2009. He also won bronze at the University in 2009.

 

Jennings got his place in the United Stated for London 2012 after winning a bronze medal in the Panamerican Games Guadalajara 2011 and in the Pre-Olympic in Queretaro.

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You are going to the Olympic Games! What went through your body and mind right after the title was confirmed for London 2012?

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Just the ultimate feeling of relief, knowing that all our hard work and planning all came together, and we got the job done.

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We saw you qualifying for the Panamerican Games in Lima, then on the podium in the Panamerican Games, then in the qualification in Queretaro, after these events many people are talking about the new USA kid. And now that you have the title by beating the Olympic silver medalist, how do you feel?

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I feel amazing. This has been a long process and everything that I accomplished along the way was all for this moment and now I can move forward and focus all my energy towards the Olympic Games.

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I read somewhere that your coach told you in combat there is only you and your opponent, in order for you to focus and not let outside drama affect you. Is this true?

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Yes, my coach (Juan Moreno) always reminds me to stay in the moment. And the only way to do that is to focus on yourself and the person standing across from you. Nothing else matters, nothing else affects you.

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Can you imagine yourself on the podium at London 2012?

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Of course, that is my dream. I’ve had the Olympic podium in my sights sense and felt all this process. This weekend was just another step in the right direction. Next is not just the podium, I want the gold medal.

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To whom do you dedicate this victory?

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To everyone who has supported me this far and only hope they will continue with the same support all the way through the Olympic Games. I also dedicate this victory to all my Peak Performance and Remarck sport Tkd family, But definitely to my coach Juan Moreno who has pushed me and supported me through this whole Olympic process.  Thank you.

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Translation: Silvana Ramírez Cuevas

Original Note (Spanish): Entrevista a Juan Moreno y Terrence Jennigs

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Claudio Aranda, Exclusive masTaekwondo.com

masTaekwondo+

info@mastaekwondo.com

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