In 1955 a group of Korean martial arts leaders chose taekwondo as
the definitive Korean martial art in an attempt to promote its development
Taekwondo was featured on the programme of the Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992
Olympics as a demonstration sport and by Sydney 2000 it
had been accepted as an Olympic sport.
The Korean government had already recognised the World Taekwondo
Federation (WTF) as the legitimate governing body of the sport, in 1973, and the first
World Championships were held in that year.
There are four weight classes each for men and women in Olympic
Taekwondo; half the number used in World Championships.
A single-elimination tournament is used to decide the gold and silver
The competitors defeated by the two finalists get another chance, in a
second bracket, to compete for the bronze; with the two losing semi-finalists moving
directly into the semi-finals of that bracket.
All the others who lost to the two finalists, compete in single
elimination within their original pools. Each pool's winner then faces the losing
semi-finalist from the opposite pool, and the two winners compete for the bronze.
Contests are scored by awarding a point for each legitimate blow
and deducting a point for each penalty.
Five to seven points with one deduction is typical.
Kim became the first heavyweight taekwondo Olympic champion; beating local Australian
hero Daniel Trenton at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
In the words of Sun Hee Lee;
"It's not the strongest who becomes the winner; it's the one who beats the
4th Fl., JoYang Building 113, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
The World Taekwondo Federation.
Regional Taekwondo Unions
Taekwondo Union: (AFTU)
64 Ramsis Extention St, Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.
Asian Taekwondo Union:
While the first Asian Taekwondo Championships were held in 1974, the Asian Taekwondo Union
was not officially launched until 1976.
European Taekwondo Union:
Founded on May 2nd, 1976, the first participating countries were: Austria, Belgium,
Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.
Taekwondo Union: (OTU)
As the fifth regional taekwondo body of the World Taekwondo Federation, the Oceania
Taekwondo Union was established on July 16th, 2005, in Sydney, Australia.
Pan American Taekwondo Union: (PATU)
Encompasses the entire western hemisphere, from the North Pole to the South, with a total
of 42 member nations.