Biography:

Since making her senior world championship debut in 2007, Melissa Pagnotta has become one of Canada’s top taekwondo athletes. She achieved a career highlight in 2011 when she won gold at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara. She also stood atop the podium at the 2014 Commonwealth Championships and is a three-time gold medallist at the Pan American Championships. Among her achievements in 2015 was her first career Grand Prix medal, a silver at the event in Moscow. She also won gold at the Pan American Open and Morocco Open to go with bronze medals at the US Open and Canada Open. Pagnotta also had a career-best result at the world championships where she advanced to the round of 16. It is this recent success that has finally made her feel like she fits in with the world’s elite athletes.

Getting to know…

Family: Parents Rosalbino (Ross) and Joanne Pagnotta… Both parents emigrated from Italy… Older sister Rosanne and younger brothers Michael and Adriano… Getting into the Sport: Began doing taekwondo at age 8 after her father found a local club… Enjoyed the physical and contact aspect of the sport… Outside Interests: Completed one year of kinesiology at York University before deciding to focus on taekwondo… Odds and Ends: Favourite motto: If you don’t believe you can do it, find someone who believes you can… Stayed up all night to watch Dominique Bosshart win bronze on TV at Sydney 2000… Travels with an evil eye…