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For week ended February 13, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Ricks student Ramon Guerrero Dominguez had dreamed of representing Mexico in the Olympics
Ricks Scroll 11Feb00 P2
By Trent Toone: Scroll staff

Ramon Dominguez Guerrero is a native of Mexico whose name in Spanish means "warrior." His life's work and example at the tender age of 26 is all of that and more. He was invited to represent his country on the Tae Kwan Do Olympic Team in the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain but chose to serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With 20 days to go on his mission to Mexico City, Dominguez was shot through the stomach while trying to break up a robbery. Three months after his release, Dominguez won the silver medal in the Tae Kwan Do World Championship and then the Gold in the Pan American Games. His talents promised to take him around the world, but Dominguez had other plans.

Growing up in poverty-stricken, drug-infested Torreon, Mexico, Dominguez remembers his childhood. "I watched my mother die when I was 5," Dominguez said. "Then my favorite uncle died when I was 13. They were both very hard to lose." He remembers seeing a 1984 Olympic Games medal ceremony when he was nine and hearing the patriotic melody of the United States National Anthem. "That's what I'm going to do," Dominguez thought, "I am going to be an athlete."

Dominguez was baptized when he was 18 and one year later served a mission. "It had been my dream to represent my country (Mexico) in the Olympics, but I knew I needed to serve the Lord. They tried to persuade me with money and scholarships, but it was more important that I represent my God," he said.

While serving in the Mexico City East Mission, President Lynn Smith, a former Ricks College instructor encouraged Dominquez to go to college. "Ramon was a remarkable young man, and a good missionary," Smith said. Serving honorably, with only an occasional use of his Tae Kwan Do talent, Dominguez' life changed when he tried to stop a robbery. "I would always find out that he had stopped a robbery or that he had stopped a mugging," Smith said. "I always had to remind him to be normal." While trying to exercise his superman abilities, his rescue efforts backfired and Dominguez was told he would never fight again.

"I had talked with my mission president about possibly coming to Ricks, and I was finally admitted, but it would be the same time as the Olympics. So here I am," Dominguez said. "I am the only man in Mexico who has turned down the honor of representing my country twice."

In order to come to Ricks, Dominguez taught himself to speak English. He began by translating the Ricks admissions application word for word. "Lots of my Latin missionaries said they would come to Ricks. Ramon was the only one that made it," Smith said. Dominguez has helped start a Tae Kwan Do Club that will compete with other colleges and universities. He works in the campus cafeteria as a cook to support his wife and one-year-old son.

"It's a lot, but I know it will be worth it in the end," Dominguez said. Asked if he regrets his decisions to miss the Olympics, Dominguez said no. "When God asks me what I did with my life, he won't care if I got a gold medal or not, but he will care if I took care of my family and worked hard in the Church. I have no regrets," he said.


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