The Unyielding Spirit of Taekwondo Champion Carlos Sansore

Follow the journey of Carlos Sansores, a taekwondo prodigy from Cancun, Quintana Roo, as he rises from humble beginnings to global acclaim. Fueled by determination, family support, and perseverance, Sansores embodies the essence of triumph against adversity on his path to Olympic glory.

The Unyielding Spirit of Taekwondo Champion Carlos Sansore
Carlos Sansores, the towering titan of taekwondo, reflects on his journey from humble beginnings in Cancun to the grand stage of Olympic glory. Credit: CONADE

One of the best taekwondo exponents in the world is the native of Cancun, Quintana Roo, Carlos Adrian Sansores Acevedo, who has been practicing this sport since he was 11 years old, thanks to the opportunity to train for free at a school in Chetumal, where he spent most of his childhood; he is currently qualified for Paris 2024, his second Olympic Games.

“They gave free classes to the children of policemen; however, without being the son of a policeman, they gave me the opportunity to train, they gave me the basics, and after I was able to give my first national medal, I returned to Cancun with my state coach, Sinhue Peniche; he was more than seven years with the national team, so he has experience,” he shared in an interview with the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sport (CONADE).

Before, the triple world medalist experimented in other sports such as boxing, judo, Olympic wrestling, swimming, and soccer; however, once he got to know taekwondo, he did not stop until he got to train with the national team, at the National Center for the Development of Sports Talents and High Performance (CNAR), a complex belonging to CONADE.

“I arrived at the age of 16 in Mexico City, in November 2013, as a guest; as who says I did not earn my place, because here are only the best of the best in Mexico, then they gave me the opportunity and saw that projection in me, which I was able to take advantage of. When I arrived at the national team they didn't even know my name, so they called me Cancun, like the city, they told me: Cancun come here”, recalled the Pan American champion of Santiago 2023.

Despite his young age, Carlos Sansores was very aware that his family's economic situation was not good and set as a goal, to be one of the best taekwondo players to have a safe place in the CNAR.

“I wanted to get ahead, I wanted to help my parents a lot; I knew that the longer I stayed here, the more help I would be for them. Maybe in the matter of food, to see for me, to spend for me and I always had in my mind that I had to be here and take advantage of everything I could to continue supporting myself in the CNAR, this year I will be 11 years in Mexico City and deeply grateful to life because it put me on the right path, “he recalled with a smile on his face.

The first international medal for the young taekwondoin came under the instructions of Professor Alfonso Victoria, with whom he is currently preparing for his next appointment at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, to which he already managed to qualify after placing second in the Olympic ranking of his category +80 kilos.

“I was selected national youth in Sweden during 2014, at that time I did not know what I was facing; I had never left the country and the first thing I did to go to an international competition was quite curious, because I said: never mind, I'm already here, I have to give it all I've got, I've already trained, I've already focused, let's see how I perform. And that's how I won my first silver medal,” recalled the winner of the National Sports Award 2023.

“In 2018 I gave my first official result in the Pan American Championship of the specialty in Washington Spokane, I won gold and became Pan American champion, I felt a lot of happiness; I think it was a point in my life where I could put my cards on the table and say: I can be good! If I train like a champion, I will be a champion; there I knew that nothing is impossible,” said the 26-year-old Quintana Roo native.

Carlos Sansores, the towering titan of taekwondo, reflects on his journey from humble beginnings in Cancun.
Carlos Sansores, a taekwondo athlete, standing tall with a contemplative expression, embodies perseverance and triumph against all odds. Credit: CONADE

A special medal, perseverance, and sacrifices

“The most emotional or the most important in my sports career was the world medal in Guadalajara, where I become world champion; they were mixed feelings, because not only could all the people who support me see me, with whom I am genuinely grateful; my whole family could also be present with me in a competition; I was very happy that they could see me as world champion.”

The victories in his sports career have been the result of his tenacity, perseverance and talent, but also of great sacrifices.

“Since 2013 when I arrived, I did not leave until December 2014, I was in the CNAR every day from Monday to Sunday, I only went out to competitions but nothing else, that was the difficult part, because I was not used to that, I was not used to high performance training; Also the altitude because I am from Cancun and there the climate is very tropical, here it is very cold in November and I only had a jacket, it really cost me a lot to adapt”, admitted the world silver medalist in Manchester 2019, gold in Guadalajara 2022 and silver in Baku 2023.

Life also gave him the gift of an adoptive family, who took him in as one of their own.

“I am truly grateful to the Rentería family, because they not only helped me to live together, but also to have a different perspective on life; they gave me my first formal clothes, the first shoes to go out, they gave me many things that I thank them for today; They opened their doors to me with all the kindness in the world, thanks to their son Mariano who trained with me, he was the one who accepted my friendship and asked his parents to invite me; so they took me to Disneyland for the first time, it was something very cool because I did not know that kind of things and when they gave me the opportunity to experience them, it motivated me a lot to continue being good at what I do and to be able to give that to my family”.

The Mexican national team player, who stands out for his great height at 1.94 meters, soon formed his own family and in them, he locates a new source of inspiration and motivation to give strength to his sporting goals.

“I have my wife and my three daughters, five-year-old twins and the youngest is two years old, so the biggest sacrifice is to continue training for them, because they are still growing, and I can't always be present”.

The “giant of Mexican taekwondo” acknowledged that he was not always a good teammate with the new members of the national team; however, his attitude changed over the years.

“Life taught me that you never stop learning and today, what I want is to be able to give them everything they need, when someone younger than me comes, or who is starting in the national team, I am open to what they want and need to learn or know, in what I can help them. If I could define myself by one thing, I think it would be in the empathy I have with other people, it's something Carlos Sansores does, I want to know how you feel, how you are!”

Taekwondo also gave him another kind of family, the one with whom he shares daily workouts, food, travel, and competitions.

“Literally, Brandon Plaza is my compadre, he baptized one of my daughters and Ruben Nava, who helps me for my Olympic process, he is also the godfather of one of my girls; this is how taekwondo has given me many friendships, not only in Mexico; also outside the country, great rivals at the time of fighting have become great friends.”

Great rivals and philosophy of life

Despite all his achievements and being considered one of the best exponents of national taekwondo, Carlos Sansores does not know how his opponents perceive him.

“It's quite funny, because every time I see my opponents, I see them from below because they are taller and even though they see me tall, I'm short out there. Every time one of them comes in, I remember their name or what medal they have won, I look at them with a lot of respect because they all have their merits, but I keep wondering how they see me, do they say, hey here comes Sansores?

The Aztec warrior always shares the motivational phrase that inspires him in his triumphs and defeats: “God is not going to give you what you want, but what you really deserve; if it is not one, something bigger is coming”.