How a dual citizen of U.S. and Mexico looks to make her mark in Rio

Martial arts champion Jackie Galloway of Texas hopes to earn a medal in her first Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she will represent the United States. She came close to competing in the 2012 games, but for Mexico’s team.

Galloway and hundreds of other Olympians in Rio are dual citizens. They have passports in two countries and the legal rights and obligations of both countries.

The Olympic Charter stipulates that athletes must be nationals of the country for which they compete. U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one nationality or another.

Galloway has already distinguished herself in her sport of taekwondo. In 2010, at age 14, she accepted a spot on Mexico’s team after she defeated the Mexican world champion. She was proud to become the youngest athlete in Mexico national team history.

After two years of living and training in Mexico City and standing by as an alternate for the London games, Galloway returned to Texas and joined Team USA. Today, she is thrilled to be competing in Rio.

Hopes are high. She won a gold medal during the 2015 Pan Am Games, a major sporting event in the Americas.

“The difference between team member and alternate, the difference between gold and silver, will be determined in a manner of a few seconds. So I need to be engaged and focused every moment of every match,” Galloway says.

Galloway, on Twitter @ikick_urface, will compete in the women’s heavyweight taekwondo tournament in Rio on August 20.

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