Stanislav Horuna won a historic Olympic bronze medal
32-year-old Stanislav Horuna stepped out on the mat with the same calm and cool that he showed in the European Championship final. For those of us who watch, it is a historic moment in the Olympics when the competitors step out on the tatami in Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. This is the first time karate will be in the Olympics and it is probably the last. In Stanislav Horuna’s mind, it’s like any match and any tournament. He has prepared to enter the competition as the best version of himself.
Routine and experience
In the first match, he meets the Japanese fighter Ken Nishimura. Stanislav starts the match in the way we are used to seeing him. Light on his feet, he circles his opponent to seek angles, control distances and, like a chess player, wait out his opponent. If there is one thing that Stansislav Horuna has on his side, it is the psyche, the routine and the mental strength. It takes until the end of the second minute of the match before Stanislav scores his first point with a yuko (a punch). Controlled, he wins the match 2-1. He does the same in the next match against the American Thomas Scott – he decides in the end, cool and controlled.
After going 0-0 against the Hungarian Hárspataki and losing 4-1 against Abdelaziz from Egypt, Horuna advances to the semifinals where he meets Luigi Busa from Italy, ranked number one in the world. In this match, it is Stanislav who is forced to chase, while Busa counters and showers Stanislav with blows. The match finally ends 3-0 in Busa’s favor – where he occasionally shows why he is number 1 in the WKF’s world rankings. Luigi Busa then wins the Olympic gold in the final match against the extremely experienced Rafael Aghayev from Azerbaijan.
Unique moment in the history of karate
It is a historic Olympic event that takes place on the tatami in the historic Nippon Budokan arena in Tokyo. This is the first and probably last time we will see the Olympic rings on a karate-gi. Unfortunately, karate will not be included in Paris 2024. This means that the medals are unique in the history of karate.
The Olympic tournament was characterized by everything we love about karate and the Olympics: the grounded respect for each other, the sportsmanship, the honor and the almost surgical control you can see in the kicks and punches. Stanislav Horuna embodies those qualities. He is a role model for everyone who practices martial arts – old and young. And during these August days, he became historic.
The 2020 Olympic Games were historic in several ways. For a moment, we were allowed to forget that the games were actually preceded by one of the worst pandemics we have ever seen. Where the Olympics it selves were even postponed for a whole year. And where dojos and competitions were shut down. For many of us who train and love martial arts, our entire training life has been on a paus. But when we finally got to see the wrestling, boxing, taekwondo, judo and karate, it was as if we could finally start hoping again. When I interviewed Stanislav before the Olympics, he said that he treated the Olympics like any other tournament. But for those of us who watched, it was something much bigger.
You can read our earlier articles about the Olympic journey of Stanislav Horuna here: Stanislav Horuna shows gold form before the Olympics!
and here Stanislavs road to OS 2020 in Tokyo