Taekwondo star Melissa Pagnotta Source: Getty Images
The Taekwondo dynamo will be heading to Rio to compete for Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games.
At 27 years old, Melissa Pagnotta has competed in Taekwondo for close to two decades, but 2016 will mark her first time repping Canada at the Olympic Games. Primed for success, she’s had an award-laden career that includes a gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games and multiple podium visits last year: She snagged gold at the Pan Am Open and silver at the Grand Prix in Moscow.
5 fun facts:
1. Melissa travels with an evil eye talisman, which is supposed to protect the wearer from harm (olympic.ca).
2. She is the only Taekwondo athlete on Team Canada at the 2016 Olympics (insidetoronto.com).
3. She tweets inspirational quotes such as "People with goals succeed because they know where they're going." (twitter.com/melissapagnotta).
4. Both of her parents emigrated from Italy (olympic.ca).
5. She started Taekwondo at age eight (olympic.ca).