Red Deer’s Taekwondo Master Seoungmin Rim and 13 students showed their skills in front of the judges of Canada’s Got Talent on March 22. Supporters can tune in to the semi-finals on May 3 and May 10 to see if they made the cut. (Photo provided by Citytv)

Red Deer’s Taekwondo Master Seoungmin Rim and 13 students showed their skills in front of the judges of Canada’s Got Talent on March 22. Supporters can tune in to the semi-finals on May 3 and May 10 to see if they made the cut. (Photo provided by Citytv)

Red Deer taekwando athletes show their stuff before Canada’s Got Talent judges

Team of 13 Alberta taekwando athletes, including four from Red Deer, competed in talent competition

Red Deer’s taekwondo Master Seoungmin Rim and 13 students wowed the judges of Canada’s Got Talent.

Ranging in age from seven to 63-year-old 1992 Olympic bronze medallist Shelley Vettese-Baert from Edmonton, Rim’s students leapt, spun, flipped and smashed enough boards to build a small shed in their audition before Canada’s Got Talent judges in Niagara Falls last November.

Rim, who owns a taekwondo gym in Red Deer County’s Gasoline Alley, two in Calgary and another in Airdrie, was inspired to show what his students can do after seeing a taekwondo team dazzle the judges in America’s Got Talent some time ago.

About 30 of his students enthusiastically showcased their skills in a video audition submission in the summer of 2021 that was filmed in his Red Deer gym.

It impressed enough to give them a shot before the judges at the Avalon Theatre in the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls in an episode that aired on Citytv on March 22.

Rim, 45, said all of those involved showed well, including seven-year-old Leon Nam from Red Deer, as well as three other local athletes, Jayden Paynor-Limbona, 14, Valerie Ho, 19, and Deokho Nam, 37.

“We didn’t expect it to go all the way through to the actual filming,” he said. After all, the America’s Got Talent team was a professional South Korean demonstration team and his team was strictly made of committed taekwando amateurs.

“We were surprised when we heard that we made it and we had to an in-person appearance.”

Not all of those who participated in the audition video could make the trip to Ontario.

Rim put together his team with a clear goal in mind.

“I wanted to show the inclusion and diversity and have it reflected in the performance,” he said. “I wanted to show truly what Canada is about.

“I also wanted to show everyone how talented Canadians are, even when it comes to taekwondo.”

Besides the 56-year age range between his oldest and youngest athletes, they came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Many, like Rim who is from South Korea, came to Canada as immigrants or are the children of immigrants.

“The judges loved it,” he said.

Their experience on the big stage before judges Howie Mandel, Lilly Singh, Trish Stratus and Kardinal Offishall was a thrill for everyone, he said.

Even for Rim, who has been to countless international championships and has been the coach of Canada’s Taekwando team for more than 10 years, the experience was memorable.

“It’s a completely different experience. It was a very enjoyable experience, nerve-wracking, but definitely worth every minute of it.”

One of the hardest parts was keeping their experience secret for months until the episode aired last month. He must also keep mum on what happens next.

Supporters of Rim and his athletes will have to wait until May 3 or May 10, when the semi-finals will be aired. The finals are set for May 17.



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Red Deer’s Taekwondo Master Seoungmin Rim and 13 students showed their skills in front of the judges of Canada’s Got Talent on March 22. Supporters can tune in to the semi-finals on May 3 and May 10 to see if they made the cut. (Photo provided by Citytv)

Red Deer’s Taekwondo Master Seoungmin Rim and 13 students showed their skills in front of the judges of Canada’s Got Talent on March 22. Supporters can tune in to the semi-finals on May 3 and May 10 to see if they made the cut. (Photo provided by Citytv)