All About Evan Medell, American Para Taekwondo athlete

Evan Medell is a well-known American Para Taekwondo athlete who competed on behalf of the US during the 2020 Summer Paralympics. Now as of 2024, he qualifies for the Paralympics in Paris as well.

Evan Medell qualifies for the Paris Paralympics 2024

Evan Medell has qualified for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games in the +80kg K44 category. He secured his spot through his high world ranking and strong performance at the 2024 Pan American Qualification Tournament.

As one of the top-ranked athletes in his weight class, Medell was able to obtain a qualification slot based on the World Para-Taekwondo Paralympic Ranking list from January 2024. During the qualification process, he competed against Mehmet Sami Sarac, defeating him 12-4, and Matt Bush, where the score was 13-25 in Medell’s favor.

In addition to his excellent rating, Medell’s outstanding performance at the Pan American Qualification Tournament secured his spot on the American Paralympic team.

“Honestly, it’s not going to affect me, it hasn’t so far. I’ve always been ranked in the top 3-4, so it made sense to try it. I think the change got rid of the people who weren’t big enough to hang in the class. It just looks like the people around me have got bigger, really. I can deal with that.”

Medell stressed. 

Evan Medell’s Age, Education, and His Early Life

Evan Medell is 27 years old and was born on March 31, 1997, in Grand Haven, Michigan. From birth, he was diagnosed with Brachial Plexus Palsy, a condition that affects the movement of his arm. Medell started practicing taekwondo in 2008. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 185 pounds.

Evan Medell in his early years
Image: Evan Medell in his Early Years (Source: Evan’s Instagram)

As of June 2017, when Medell was 20 years old, he was a student at the University of Central Oklahoma and a Para Taekwondo fighter. He credits his success to the coaching he received from Jason Poos while training at the University of Central Oklahoma, and Brad DeMinck, the U.S. Para Taekwondo national coach. Medell’s idol is fellow taekwondo athlete Aaron Cook.

Medell is a licensed diesel mechanic in the state of Michigan. He considers Jim Abbott as his biggest inspiration. Medell’s favorite food is burgers, and his favorite drink is Dr. Pepper. His favorite movie is “Miracle”.

What is Evan Medell’s Disability?

Evan Medell was diagnosed with Brachial Plexus Palsy, a condition that affects the nerves in his arm. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that stem from the neck and upper back area of the spinal cord. These nerves control the movement and sensation in the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers.

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Due to Medell’s Brachial Plexus Palsy, the nerves in his arm are affected, making it difficult for him to raise his arm, type on a keyboard, or perform other everyday tasks that involve the arm and hand. The sensory nerves are also affected, meaning he may not be able to feel certain sensations, like the heat of a hot pan.

Despite this disability, Medell has excelled in the sport of taekwondo, winning multiple medals, including becoming the first-ever U.S. Paralympic Taekwondo medalist. His achievement is particularly remarkable given the challenges he faces due to his Brachial Plexus Palsy.

Early stages of Evan’s career

Evan Medell had several notable achievements. In 2015, he became a member of the Senior Para National Team. That same year, he won a gold medal and a silver medal at the Asian Championship in the Para Sparring K44 +75kg category.

The following year, in 2016, Medell won gold medals at both the Canadian Open and the U.S. Open in the Para Sparring K44 +75kg category. He also won a bronze medal at the Pan American Championship in the same weight class.

In 2017, Medell again became a member of the Senior Para National Team. That year, he also won a bronze medal at the World Para Taekwondo Championships in the +75kg K44 senior category, which was held in London. Additionally, he participated in the Pan Am Para Championships in the +75kg K44 senior category in San Jose, and the Asian Para Championships in the +75kg K44 senior category in Chuncheon.

Evan Medell Tokyo Olympics and Road to Paris

In his professional career, Evan Medell continued to have great success. In 2019, he won a gold medal in the K44 +75kg category at the Parapan American Games in Lima. That year, he also participated in the African Para Championships in the +75kg K44 senior category in Hugarda, and the Asian Para Championships in the +75kg K44 senior category in Amman.

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In 2020, Medell made history by becoming the first U.S. man to compete in taekwondo at the Paralympic Games. He also became the first American to win a Paralympic medal in the sport, earning a bronze medal in the men’s +75kg K44 category at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

More recently, in 2023, Medell won a gold medal in the +80kg K44 category at the Parapan American Games held in Santiago, Chile. He also secured a silver medal in the K44 +80kg Men’s category at the same event