Ariel Torres has been a nearly unstoppable force in the traditional forms division on the open sport karate circuit for several years and currently represents Team Revolution. His combination of technical skill, power, and showmanship has enabled him to extend his success to highly competitive World Karate Federation events, including a defeat of the great Antonio Diaz to become the 2019 Pan American Champion.
His continued training under the widely-respected Sensei Robert Young of Kenseikan Dojo in Miami helped Torres carry his momentum to a win at the Paris qualifier in June of this year. His status on Team USA resulted in a spot in the iconic Got Milk? promotional campaign and an appearance on Good Morning America. The countless hours of training and promotion for the Tokyo Olympics all came to fruition on Friday.
On August 6th, Ariel Torres became the first American to win an olympic medal in karate. He once again faced Venezuelan legend Antonio Diaz in the bronze medal match and was able to claim victory by just under four tenths of a point. Not only is this a major accomplishment for Torres, but it is something the entire sport karate community can be proud of. His medal is the first olympic hardware won by a sport karate competitor since 1988, when two-time Diamond Nationals champion Arlene Limas won a gold medal in Taekwondo.
The other medalists were Ryo Kiyuna of Japan (gold), Damián Quintero of Spain (silver), and Ali Sofuoglu of Turkey (bronze). Sofuoglu also deserves some respect from the sport karate community, as he competed in Jessie Wray's Virtual Forms Tour against current ISKA U.S. Open Champion Mason Stowell of Top Ten Team USA back in 2020. Sofuoglu and Torres were both able to secure bronze medals as a result of the bracket-style format used for olympic karate kata.