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Indiana's own 'Karate Kid' has his sights on 2024 Olympic Games

A 17-year-old Taekwondo champion from Fishers has his sights set on making the 2024 US Taekwondo Olympic Team.

FISHERS, Ind. — An ultra-aggressive attitude has served 17-year-old Taekwondo champion Nolan Miles well over the years. 

“My parents describe me as a racehorse,” said the somewhat soft-spoken teenager. “I love being the hardest worker in the room, and I am notoriously known for being overly aggressive.”

Just take one look at Nolan’s Team USA Taekwondo page and you’ll see victory after victory and championship after championship for this two-time All-American Fishers High School senior. 

Now, Nolan has his sights set on making the 2024 US Taekwondo Olympic Team.

“That's the dream,” he said confidently. 

A lofty, but attainable, goal for this young Hoosier who started taking martial arts classes when he was just five years old after his mom saw the movie “The Karate Kid.”

“I was a hyper kid, so my parents wanted to give me something to do,” Nolan said. 

“It was something that we got him into to give him that after school activity, to give him that mind/body focus,” explained Nolan’s dad Ryan. “We never once imagined for him to have aspirations of going to the Olympics.”

“My parents found some really skilled Korean masters (to train with),” Nolan said. “They actually came here from South Korea, so I learned from them for almost 10 years.”

Nolan’s talent level really started to take off, but in order to train with the best coaches in the country, constant, long-distance travel was a necessity. 

“We were putting him on flights every Friday,” Nolan’s dad said. “He was flying out by himself to Virginia to train over a weekend and then flying back on a Sunday night and then re-doing it again the next week.”

But the pandemic brought all the travel, training and competing to an abrupt halt, something Nolan looked at as a positive. 

“It was actually good for me,” Nolan said. “I think I needed that break just to mature a little bit, get a little bit taller and gain some more weight.”

Luckily, Nolan had a live-in sparring partner, his 13-year-old brother Holden, who is also a top taekwondo national competitor. 

“I can constantly train with someone who's at a higher level than me,” Holden said proudly. 

But there were times where the brotherly training sessions got a little too intense. 

“Once one of us goes over the edge, all the rules just go away, and we go full MMA-style,” Nolan laughed as his brother chuckled next to him. 

After he drops someone to the mat, Nolan also wants to learn how to patch them up.  

“My other dream that I have in my life is to become a physician,” he said. “I recently got into the National Society of Future Medical Leaders.”

Nolan is an honors student at Fishers High School, and he said his goal is to attend Norte Dame, but he has a big decision to make in the next few months when Nolan should find out if he’s been selected to train with the next Olympic Taekwondo Team. 

If he’s chosen, he’d have to move to Colorado to train with the team and finish high school and start college out there. 

So if he had the choice between doctor or Olympic athlete, which would he choose?

“Let's say let's get both, but it's going to take a while,” Nolan said with a smile.


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