Alexandria native Terrence Jennings claims taekwondo bronze

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“LONDON — After the final fight had ended in dramatic and unpredictable fashion, and not long after Terrence Jennings had walked off the taekwondo mat Thursday, the 26-year-old fighter spotted a familiar face in the arena and the day’s extraordinary events started coming into focus. … ‘What did I just do?’ said Jennings, an Alexandria, Va. native, breathless and cupping his hands over his face. … ‘You just won an Olympic bronze medal!’ yelled Luke Ford, his friend and training partner. ‘You’re an Olympic medalist, sir!’ …”

“… Jennings exploded into a howl when officials awarded him a three-point kick, giving him an 8-5 win over Brazil’s Diogo Silva to claim one of the two bronze medals. … ‘It doesn’t get any closer than that,’ Jennings said. … He had lost his first fight of the day to Russia’s Servet Tazegul. Jennings knew the only way to re-enter the tournament was through the repechage group, and he needed Tazegul to win his next two fights. Taekwondo is a single-elimination tournament, but any fighter who loses to one of the two eventual finalists moves into one of two repechage groups. The repechage group winners then square off for the two bronze medals. … Jennings left the arena and returned to a nearby hotel. Juan Moreno, his coach, had actually prepared Jennings for every scenario. They did a practice run at their Miami gym not long ago, arriving at 7:30 a.m. for the morning round, starting the next session at 3 p.m. and then staging the gold medal match later at night. …”

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