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From the Sun archives Sept. 28, 1995 Lisbonís Hinrichs a U.S. champion
September 07, 2017

Editor's note: News editor Stacy Haynes Moore penned this story in 1995 about Tae Kwan Do champion Miranda Hinrichs, then a Lisbon High School student. The sport was an Olympic demonstration when Hinrichs won a gold medal at the Junior Olympics. It became an Olympic sport in 2000.

Lisbon High School junior Miranda Hinrichs will be making some olympic-size decisions in the coming year. Hinrichs, 16, just turned down - postponed, perhaps - an offer to train full-time at the Olympics Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

A Black Belt in the martial skills of Tae Kwon Do, this year Hinrichs successfully defended her national championship and won the gold medal at the Junior Olympics.

She also proudly took home the bronze medal in the senior's category.

"I visited the training center for a week this summer," Hinrichs said. "It was great. But they would have wanted me to start now, and I would have had to be gone from my family and friends."

Her mother, Nancy Hinrichs, lives in Lisbon. Her father, Randy Hinrichs, lives in nearby Cedar Rapids. Her older sister, Krista, attends Luther College in Dubuque. Younger sister Hilary is in seventh grade at Lisbon.

Hinrichs says she decided to decline the offer - for now.

"I'm thinking that if I do it, it may be after high school," she says. "Right now, I have to think about family and friends."

By the time she graduates in 1997, Tae Kwon Do will have switched from its current standing as an Olympic demonstration sport to a medal event for the Olympics 2000.

Hinrichs has been knocking her way through Tae Kwon Do lessons since she was a 10-year-old in fifth grade.

"I was curious about it, so I took it," Hinrichs says of her lessons, which began at Cornell College.

Her mother began taking lessons with her and is now a fellow Black Belt.

"It's been a good thing for us," Hinrichs says. "We've spent a lot of good time together."

Hinrichs' sister Krista participated in lessons for a year, and sister Hilary has now been involved with the sport two years. Hinrichs practices several times a week with a personal trainer at the Cornell fitness center.

She works in the evenings, juggling the time between her practices or games as a member of the Lisbon Lions volleyball and basketball teams.

"Usually in the spring I try to spend a lot more time training," Hinrichs says. "It is hard to balance other sports against my practices, and this year my classes are even harder. I am starting to feel a little more pressure now."

But Hinrichs has never been one to shirk from a challenge, saying she enjoys the combative spirit of Tae Kwon Do - fearlessly meeting her opponent in the ring.

"It's fun," Hinrichs says, describing Tae Kwon Do as "the art of hand and foot movements."

"We kick a lot more, and it trains you in self-defense," Hinrichs says, comparing it to other martial arts. "It builds on your character," she continues. "I guess I started getting serious about it when I started going to national competitions and seeing what other people were doing."

She excitedly talks of traveling across the country with her Olympics group. Last year, they went on an exchange to Korea, where Hinrichs received the gold medal in a championship event.

This November, she will travel to Spain and live there for a week, participating in the "First World Tae Kwon Do Championships."

In Spain she will still be considered a member of the junior team - those 16 years old and younger - but says she aspires to someday be a full-time practicing member of the seniors' team, designated for those 17 and older.

"There are a lot of big decisions to make about what I want," Hinrichs says, noting that she'll soon start practicing in the mornings before school in preparation for the November tournament.

"I have to decide whether to go to college right away, or to the Olympics and begin training right after school.

"I am thinking about it now," Hinrichs adds, saying that by the summer of 1996 she'll likely have to make up her mind. "For the Olympics to be my goal - the time is an amazing consideration and commitment."

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