Jack Woolley

Jack Woolley is celebrating a milestone.

The out martial artist made history two years ago as the first Irish athlete to qualify for the Olympics in taekwondo. On Monday, Woolley commemorated his anniversary on Instagram.

“Two years ago today I officially became an OLYMPIAN,” he wrote. “Although Tokyo didn’t go the way I had planned it is still an experience that I will never forget. My plan now is to qualify for my second games and compete next summer in Paris 2024.”

Though Woolley lost in the first round of the Tokyo Games, the 24-year-old put the moment in perspective, vowing to “have fun” and “put himself first.”

Since then, Woolley has won multiple metals and continued competing at the highest level. Earlier this year, he won the 2023 Taekwondo Spanish Open in the flyweight division.

Last month, he took home silver at the 2023 European Games, beating Italy’s Matias Lomartire in the semi-finals of the men’s taekwondo event.

“So it’s nice to show a good representation of myself and show the Irish public what Jack Woolley is all about,” he said, via BBC.

Woolley publicly came out as bisexual prior to the Tokyo Games, though he expressed some regret afterwards.

“I just wish I never labeled it. I still don’t like labeling it. People are just hell-bent on giving everyone labels nowadays,” he told the Irish website Extra in 2020. “They will say you are very flamboyant or whatever, but the thing is I kick people for a living.”

In that same interview, Woolley says some opponents refused to shake his hand after he publicly came out as bisexual.

But now, Woolley seems to be more at ease about being publicly out. He recently wished his boyfriend happy birthday on Insta, saying he “never thought” he would find someone who makes him so happy.

It’s great to see Woolley living his life in the open, especially given some of the hardships he’s experienced.

His grandmother passed away in 2018, and around that time, his father was also hospitalized with a severe case of meningitis. Woolley worked with a psychologist to get through the time period, according to Olympics.com.

The following year, he won silver at the European Championships.

But his obstacles didn’t end there. Shortly after returning home from the 2020 Olympics, Woolley suffered a brutal attack on the streets of Dublin, and underwent lip reconstruction surgery. 

Sky Sports reported the group that attacked Woolley also assaulted other pedestrians that evening, suggesting it was a random attack.

Woolley publicly addressed the assault a week later, thanking his friends, family and fans for the support.

Ever resilient, it didn’t take Woolley long to bounce back. He won a gold medal in international competition just three months after the assault.

With those accomplishments in mind, Woolley has a lot to celebrate on his way to Paris 2024. Scroll down for more shots of him living his best life…

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