Marc-André Bergeron Battles to Emotional Taekwondo Bronze at Pan Am Games
Santiago, Chile (October 23, 2023) – Marc-André Bergeron stole the hearts of a packed Chilean crowd, and his Canadian teammates, after winning the second Pan Am Games bronze medal of his rollercoaster career on Monday in Santiago, Chile.
The 32-year-old raised his hands in victory after winning a nail biter in the third-place bout – an outcome reminiscent of his first bronze medal at the Toronto 2015 Games that marked a full return to elite form after an incredible journey over the last decade.
“It went very well today. I’m super happy with winning the bronze and going back home with some hardware,” said the exhausted Quebec City resident following his march through the men’s +80kg bracket.
After receiving a bye through the round of 16, the 6-foot-4 Bergeron took full advantage of his massive reach while blanking Venezuela’s Luis Alvarez Robles (2-0) in the quarter finals. He was forced to compete for bronze after dropping a close 2-1 decision to Mexico’s Carlos Sansores Acevedo.
His third-place clash with Colombia’s Luis Soto Bautista left no margin for error with the hard-nosed Canuck taking the early lead 1-0 in the opening round. The two Taekwondo gladiators cautiously navigated their way around the mat in the second round where they squared things off at 3 points. The round went to the Colombian, setting up a final round to determine who would leap onto the podium.
Bergeron found himself in danger and a point down early, but a late penalty bumped him into the lead and onto the podium with a thrilling 2-1 triumph.
“Multi-sport Games offer such a high level in terms of atmosphere and intensity,” added Bergeron. “It’s totally different from what we experience at international Opens and at our World Championships. I wish every athlete would have the opportunity to live this experience in their career.”
Mexico’s Carlos Sansores Acevedo was crowned Pan American Games champion in the +80kg division with a win over Jonathan Healy of the United States. Argentina’s Augustin Alves claimed the other bronze.
It has been a long road back to the top for Bergeron, who is not only a giant in stature but also in personality in the international taekwondo community.
Enjoying a medal-winning run early in his career that saw him deliver podium results at multiple events around the world including the Pan American Championships, Pan American Open, Canada Open, German Open Commonwealth Championships, Swiss, Austrian and Dutch Opens Opens, and Presidents Cups in 2014-2017, he struggled to find his best over the next six years after narrowly missing out on qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Competing just once in each of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, the relentless Bergeron bounced back with a trio of international podiums in 2022 to set up another run at the Pan Am Games.
“It’s been eight years since my last appearance at the Pan American Games. I was 24 back then when I finished third (in Toronto), but I am a completely transformed athlete today,” he said. “If I were to face who I was back in 2015, it would not even be a difficult fight for me. It’s been a really long journey to get here, but I’m super happy to have this experience and win the bronze.”
And so too is Canada’s taekwondo community for his continued pursuit of excellence.
“Marc-André has been a fixture in this program, and a leader on this team for so many years,” said Allan Wrigley, high-performance director, Taekwondo Canada. “The younger athletes look up to him, and he is the kind of athlete that really brings the team together. We are always proud of what our athletes achieve, but at his age and stage of his career, this podium performance is a special moment for taekwondo in Canada.”
The heart-warming triumph brought Taekwondo Canada’s medal count to three at Santiago 2023. On Sunday, Winnipeg’s Skylar Park struck gold in the women’s -57kg division. Her kid brother, 22-year-old Tae-Ku, won bronze in the men’s -68kg class at his Pan Am Games debut on Saturday.
Canada’s medal-winning trio will be back on the competition floor Tuesday for the debut of the Kyorugi Team event.
Torontonians – Ashley Kraayeveld and Angelique Orozco – will team up with Skylar Park in the women’s event. Marc-André Bergeron and Tae-Ku Park will join forces with Braven Park in the men’s team test.
A complete schedule and results can be tracked at https://results-santiago2023.org/#/schedule/daily/2023-10-22
About Taekwondo Canada:
Taekwondo Canada is the National Sport Governing Body for Taekwondo in Canada. We are recognized by World Taekwondo, Pan American Taekwondo Union, and are members of the Canadian Olympic Committee, and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Taekwondo Canada is supported by Sport Canada. Taekwondo Canada sends national teams to the Olympic Games, World Taekwondo Championships, Pan Am Taekwondo Championships, Pan Am Games, World Taekwondo Junior Championships, Poomsae World Championships, and Pan Am Poomsae Championships.