Student at Antioch’s Givans Taekwondo on track for 2020 Olympics

C.J. Nickolas with gold medal from the 2018 World Taekwondo Federation competition in Greece. Photo courtesy of Ed Givans.

C.J. Nickolas, a senior in high school and a student at Givans Taekwondo in Antioch, is headed to Taekwondo Senior World Championships in Manchester, England later this m onth. He had to withdraw from Heritage High in Brentwood two days into his senior year because he was one of eight athletes in the United States to be picked up by the USA Taekwondo (USAT) to train full time abroad and enter the European Taekwondo Open circuit. The  intention is to get those athletes ready for 2024 or 2028 Olympics.

However, Nickolas has defied the odds, outperformed the initial expectations, and is headed to the World Championships this year. A few other things have to fall into place for him to make it to the 2020 Olympics, but he is definitely on track.

Nickolas is the son of Edward Givans, owner of Givans Taekwondo in Antioch, where Nickolas trains, and Denise Nickolas of Brentwood.

“His mom and I are very proud of C.J.,” the elder Givans said. “It’s been exciting to see him advance in his skills and the competitions.”

Arriving at this place in his life was not happenstance or luck for Nickolas. He has put long hours, and extensive time into training over the years. Nickolas has made many sacrifices to get where he is and says that even in the setbacks and losses and injuries, he knows he has to continue the grind. He says he digs deep when it’s tough and keeps pressing his way.

Nickolas is finishing out his high school through an on-line school (CAVA) while he continues to train full time.

His travels in the past six months have taken him to compete in Greece, Poland, France, Croatia, Africa and Spain among other places.

He has one stop in Bulgaria before he heads back to England to train for Worlds. Then Nickolas will continue his grind to get to the coming Olympics.

Allen Payton contributed to this story.

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CJ Nickolas with WTF gold medal 2018 Greece


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