Taekwondo began as "Plan B" for Jamie Raybourn of Midlothian.
"I was a ballerina kid. All in. And then I had a growth spurt. But what comes with a growth spurt? Clumsiness," Raybourn, 19, said with a laugh. "When I say clumsy I'm talking 'falling up the stairs' clumsy."
It turns out that her plan B was one heck of a plan.
Raybourn returned from the World Taekwondo Championships in Germany earlier this month with a rightful claim to being the world’s best at breaking, having earned a gold medal in the senior female power breaking division, and a silver medal she shared with fellow University of North Texas student Lillian Randall, 20, in the senior women’s team power breaking division.
“I am a proud American. I love America and there is nothing more special than standing up on that podium and hearing your national anthem play,” said Raybourn, who was among the more than 1,200 competitors at the world championship, who represented 66 countries.
Raybourn, who is decidedly well past her clumsy period, said that she stuck with taekwondo over the past 15 years not because of championships, but because of the sense of family, respect and courtesy she feels when she participates.
“There is zero tolerance for nonsense in the dojo, and I am so thankful and so blessed that it has been a part of my life, especially during those formative years,” Raybourn said. “I definitely believe it has helped me to be the person I am today, and helped form me into hopefully a functioning member of society as an adult.”
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Raybourn, who is on track to graduate from UNT with a double major in Hospitality Management and Digital Retailing, has decided to go out on top. Her performance at the World Championship will be her last martial arts competition. She noted that she has prayed on the matter and determined that God has bigger things in store for her life than just taekwondo.