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María Espinoza
María Espinoza 2016.jpg
Espinoza with her silver medal from the 2016 Summer Olympics
Personal information
Full name María del Rosario Espinoza Espinoza
Nickname(s) Chayito
Nationality Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico
Born November 27, 1987 (1987-11-27) (age 33)
La Brecha, Sinaloa, Mexico
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 70 kg (154 lb)
Sport
Sport Taekwondo

María del Rosario Espinoza Espinoza (born November 27, 1987) is a Mexican taekwondo practitioner.

Espinoza is one of the two women from Mexico who have won an Olympic gold medal, the other being Soraya Jiménez.

Early life

Espinoza was born on 27 November 1987 in La Brecha, Sinaloa. Her father is a fisherman and mother a homemaker. She began practicing taekwondo at age five.

Career

Espinoza won her first international competition in taekwondo at the 2003 Pan American Youth Championship in Rio de Janeiro. Later she participated in Open tournaments in Canada, France, and Germany.

She won the 2007 World Taekwondo Championships in the Middleweight (–72 kg) category defeating Lee In-Jong and also won the gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games in the Heavyweight (+67 kg) category, defeating Brazilian Natália Falavigna in the final.

She participated in the +67 kg weight class at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She began with a victory over Tunisian Khaoula Ben Hamza by a score of 4-0, later she beat Swedish Karolina Kedzierska 4-2. In the semifinals she qualified for the final by defeating British former world champion and eventual bronze medal winner Sarah Stevenson 4-1 and culminated in winning the gold medal by beating Norwegian Nina Solheim, earning the second gold for Mexico at the 2008 Olympics.

In 2012, María returned to the Olympics in London. She carried the flag for Mexico during the Parade of Nations and won a bronze medal. She beat Sorn Davin in the first round before losing to eventual gold medallist Milica Mandić in the quarterfinals. In the repechage, she beat Talitiga Crawley before winning her bronze medal match against Glenhis Hernández.

In Rio 2016, Espinoza won a silver medal to become the first female Mexican athlete to earn an Olympic medal in three different Olympic Games, and the second Mexican athlete to earn Olympic medals in three consecutive editions. She carried Mexico's flag at the closing ceremony in 2016.

María Espinoza won second place in the Taekwondo world championships in Manchester on May 16, 2019.

Military

Espinoza is a member of the Mexican Army with the rank of Cabo (Corporal) auxiliar de Educación Física y Deportes. Top athletes have joined the military for the stable income and access to the best training facilities. For the 2016 Rio Olympics, 21 of the 125 Mexican athletes were part of the military. Four of the five medals won at those games were won by military personnel (María Espinoza, Germán Sánchez, Ismael Hernández and Lupita González).

Education

Espinoza studied Business Administration at the Universidad del Valle de Mexico. She was inducted into the University's Sports Hall of Fame.

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