What to do with an Olympic gold medal? Give it to the king

Ahmad Abughaush, of Jordan, shows of his gold medal in the men's 68-kg taekwondo competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. Abughaush won the gold. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

After winning Jordan's first Olympic medal ever _ a gold, no less _ Ahmad Abughaush has an unexpected plan for it: the taekwondo champion intends to give it to King Abdullah

RIO DE JANEIRO β€” After winning Jordan's first Olympic medal ever β€” a gold, no less β€” Ahmad Abughaush has an unexpected plan for it: The taekwondo champion intends to give it to his king.

Many members of King Abdullah's family stayed up late Thursday night to watch Abughaush's historic victory in the men's 68-kilogram division at the Rio Olympics, and he has since spoken to at least 10 of them as they offered him congratulations.

The 20-year-old describes his win as "a dream," and he is looking forward to returning home Tuesday, when he will receive a hero's welcome at the airport.

As for his medal, Abughaush has entrusted his coach to keep it for him, although not for long.

"I plan to give it to the king," he told The Associated Press. "And I hope he gives it back."

Abughaush surprised much of the taekwondo world when he defeated a string of higher-ranked athletes in an audacious display of traditional tactics that incorporated numerous jumping kicks that were so spectacular they elicited gasps from the crowd.

"It's important to make a good show (of) taekwondo," he said.

Many of the sport's top athletes rely on jab-like kicks off their front legs for speed and easy points, but that doesn't impress Abughaush. He prefers to use jumping kicks to catch his opponent off-guard.

"This is how I can get points," he said, adding that his unpredictable style makes it difficult for other fighters to counterattack.

Both of Abughaush's parents are retired nurses, and he took up the Korean martial art at age 6 after watching one of his brothers compete in it. He said his family was so happy about his victory that they were in tears.

The lanky and soft-spoken Abughaush also said he's looking forward to one of his mother's home-cooked meals that he hasn't found in Rio: mansaf, a traditional Jordanian dish of roast lamb, yogurt and rice.

Abughaush plans to keep training and hopes to defend his Olympic title in Tokyo.

"I want to repeat this victory," he said. "I don't want to think this happened by chance."

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