PANAM SPORTS LEGENDS: ADRIANA CARMONA
One of just 15 Olympic medalists and the first woman to ever win an Olympic medal for Venezuela, Adriana Carmona battled to create an impressive and historic career.
The heavyweight taekwondo star competed for 20 years, winning medals at major competitions throughout the Americas and throughout the world.
Not only did Carmona fight to win medals, she also fought to help get her sport into the official program of the Olympic Games. While taekwondo has been a mainstay of the Olympic sport program for the past 20 years, it began as a demonstration sport at the Seoul 1988 Summer Olympics.
Carmona represented Venezuela at the Barcelona 1992 Summer Games, the second time the sport was included as a demonstration sport. Nonetheless, Carmona competed with ferocity on her way to a bronze medal. However, the bronze medal is not included in Venezuela’s historic medal count due to the sport’s status as a demonstration sport.
This taste of Olympic success fueled the beginning of an outstanding career. The year following the Olympics, Carmona competed at the Taekwondo World Championships in New York, fighting her way to a silver medal.
Her next major international competition was her first Pan American Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina in 1995. Carmona was not fazed by competing in her first Pan Am Games, cruising to her first gold medal at the Games. She then almost repeated as champion at consecutive Pan American Games, earning the silver medal at the Winnipeg 1999 Pan Am Games in Canada.
After two Games as a demonstration sport, taekwondo was officially added to the sport program at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Carmona once again showed her strength at the Games, but lost in the semifinals, narrowly missing her first official Olympic medal.
She came back with a vengeance at the Santo Domingo 2003 Pan American Games, fighting her way to another silver medal and her third and final medal at the Pan Am Games.
Carmona would go on to compete at the next two Summer Olympics in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. Her Olympic breakthrough finally happened while competing in Greece, winning the bronze medal in Athens. It was not only Carmona’s first Olympic medal, but also the first Olympic medal ever won by a Venezuelan woman.
These incredible accomplishments earned Adriana Carmona a place in Venezuela’s Hall of Fame. She still gives back to the taekwondo community in Venezuela and continues to help grow the sport in her country and throughout the world.
Since Carmona’s Olympic breakthrough, three more women have earned Olympic medals for Venezuela, with Dalia Contreras matching her bronze medal in taekwondo at Beijing 2008, and Yulimar Rojas and Stefany Hernandez winning silver and bronze medals respectively at Rio 2016.
Adriana’s achievements for her sport and her country make her a true Panam Sports Legend who will forever be remembered in Venezuela and throughout the Americas.