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Grad Spotlight: Maple Grove Senior High’s Alasan Ann is Paris-bound for 2024 Olympics

Grad Spotlight: Maple Grove Senior High’s Alasan Ann is Paris-bound for 2024 Olympics

Alasan Ann, a 2019 graduate of Maple Grove Senior High School, spent the entirety of his school career as a student of Osseo Area Schools. But at the same time he was focusing on academics at Fernbrook Elementary, Osseo Middle and Maple Grove Senior High, he was also a student of Taekwondo at World Taekwondo Academy in Maple Grove. 

As a young child, Ann said that he lacked focus and was prone to anger, and his mom put him in Taekwondo at age six in hopes that studying martial arts would calm and anchor him. He has trained with Grandmaster Eui Lee from day one, who said Ann went from a hyperactive young child to a hardworking and disciplined teenager and now adult. 

“I think a lot of people don’t really understand what Taekwondo entails,” Lee said. “It goes way beyond kicking, punching and fighting; the sport works on life skills like confidence and developing self discipline.”

Alasan Ann with his coach, Grandmaster Lee


Ann trained recreationally until he was around 10. He became inspired by the school’s team-level competitors and decided to push harder to earn a spot on a competitive team, which he did at age 11. He grew to love the mental aspect of understanding his opponents, reading them and reacting appropriately to defeat them. 

Both Grandmaster Lee and Ann himself said his training reached a turning point when Ann won his first national title at age 13 as part of a Cadet National team. 

“When he won his first national title, we thought ‘this kid has something special,’” Lee said. 

He followed that victory up by becoming the first competitor to win two consecutive national titles. He ultimately became a five-time US National Champion, and has now turned his sights to the world’s biggest stage at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Ann and Lee head to Paris on July 25 so he can participate in an Olympic training camp before competing on Aug.10. Ann said the camp will allow him to train with and against a greater number of heavyweight competitors at his skill level than ever before. 

Alasan Ann holds a flag surrounded by fans


Though he grew up in Maple Grove, Ann will compete for his father’s home country of Gambia. To watch him compete, Ann said World Taekwondo Academy will host a viewing party, or spectators can tune in to Peacock or YouTube. 

In addition to training and competing, Ann said he recently opened a World Taekwondo Academy of his own in Andover, and he teaches students both there and in Maple Grove.

“It’s an honor to be part of the organization,” he said.

Ann said his training took up much of the time that other high school students spend socializing, but he has no regrets. He credits his kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Paige Daley (then Muhlbauer), and high school band teacher, Mr. Paul Terry, with providing him with the support and encouragement that motivated him to go after his dreams.

Alasan Ann holds his ticket to the Olympic games