Grace's Olympic Dreams Driven by Family, Hometown, Country

Jacob Grace, the only Oregonian on the US National Taekwondo team, has sights on Tokyo 2020.

Posted: Sep 13, 2018 11:13 PM
Updated: Sep 13, 2018 11:18 PM

MEDFORD—Medford is home to a member of the US National Taekwondo team—the only one in the state of Oregon.

Jacob Grace, 23, has his sights set even higher though.

Along with fighting for his home state, he fights for his family. And one day, he hopes to fight for his country on the world stage.

But to know where he’s going, it’s important to know where he came from.

In 2005, when Jacob was ten years old, his father passed away from a heart attack.

"He worked two to three jobs every day and there were some days where I didn't see him at night. He'd be asleep during the day. It was just sudden," he said.

"With my dad passing, it kind of fell on to him to represent the family, technically be the man of the house I guess,” Jacob’s younger brother, Jordan Grace, said. “But there were things bigger for him. And I know my dad would understand."

Their mom had to raise four children on her own.

"It was very hard to get us into an actual sport or get us into any extracurricular activity because it was hard on the money," Jacob said.

But Jacob soon took up taekwondo, and ever since, he hasn’t put it down.

"Just being able to show that it doesn't matter where or how you start off, you can always make it somewhere," he said.

Jacob hopes his somewhere is eventually the Olympic Games.

"If I can go toe to toe with these Olympians on the daily, then there's no reason not for me to go to the Olympic Games either," he said.

He’s beaten some of the world’s best, and ranked 66th in the sport right now, he’ll need to be in the top 40 to have a shot.

It would complete the trifecta: Fighting for his state, his family and his country.

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