Taekwondo>History>Chapter 26: Road to the Olympics

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Chapter 26: Road to the Olympics


Taekwondo is now an official Olympic sport. The process to attain this status was long.


  • In 1974, instructors in the United States, such as Ken Min, Dong Ja Yang, Mu Yong Lee, and others, worked for and attained the admission of Taekwondo into the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). The newly established WTF technical standards were adopted by the AAU taekwondo group.
  • On October 5, 1975, taekwondo became an affiliate of the General Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF), an association of all international sports, both Olympic and non-Olympic, with direct ties to the International Olympic Committee (IOC. 
  • On April 9, 1976, the Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) adopted taekwondo as an official sport event.
  • In 1979, the WTF President, Kim Un Yong, was elected chairperson of the World Federation of Non-Olympic Sports. Under the auspices of GAISF, taekwondo was introduced to the IOC as a sport. 
  • On July 17, 1980, the WTF was granted recognition by the IOC at its 83rd General Session during the Moscow Olympics. 
  • On July 24, 1981, taekwondo was one of the primary events in the World Games (non-Olympic events) held in Santa Clara, California.
  • On November 28, 1981, the United States AAU taekwondo group changed its name to the National AAU Taekwondo Union of the United States. 
  • On February 5, 1982, taekwondo was adopted as a demonstration sport for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games at the IOC Executive Board Meeting. 
  • The crowning achievement of taekwondo as a sport came at the General Session of the IOC held in Berlin in May 1982 when taekwondo was designated an official demonstration sport for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, and for the 25th Barcelona, Spain, Olympics, in 1992.
  • On September 9, 1984, the National AAU Taekwondo Union of the United States was renamed the United States Taekwondo Union (USTU) and was unanimously approved as a "Group A" member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Today, the USTU is a non-profit amateur sports organization that is the national governing body for taekwondo, as well as the sole representative of the WTF in the United States.
  • On July 3, 1986, the First World Cup Taekwondo Championship was held in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 
  • On September 30, 1986, the Tenth Asian Games Taekwondo Tournament was held in Seoul with 17 participating nations. 
  • On November 29, 1986, the First World University Taekwondo Championship was held. 
  • On August 9, 1987, taekwondo was included in the Tenth Pan-American Games held in Indianapolis, Indiana. 
  • On October 7, 1987, the First Women's World Taekwondo Championship was held in Barcelona, Spain.
  • On September 17-20, 1988, taekwondo was a demonstration sport in the 24th Olympiad, with 192 players from 25 nations (male) and 16 nations (female).
  •  On August 14-17, 1991, taekwondo was included in the 11th Pan-American Games held in Havana, Cuba. 
  • On August 3-5, 1992, taekwondo was a demonstration sport in the 25th Olympiad, in Barcelona, Spain.
  • In 1986, taekwondo was adopted as an official event by the All Africa Games and the by Federation International du Sport Universitaire. 
  • On September 4, 1994, in Paris, the 103rd Session of the IOC adopted taekwondo as an official Olympic sport for the 27th Olympiad in 2000 in Sydney, Australia at the Sydney Exhibition Center, in Darling Harbor.
  • Taekwondo appeared as an official Olympic sport at the 2000 Summer Olympics in the Sydney Exhibition Center, Darling Harbor, Australia.
Taekwondo has consolidated its position in world sports faster than any other martial art sport. It is contested in the World and Women's World Championships, World Cup Taekwondo, CISM Taekwondo Championships, and in the FISU World University Championships. It is now played as an official medal sport in most international multi-sport games such as World Games, Pan American Games, All Africa Games, Southeast Asian Games, Central American Games, and of course the Olympics.

As stated before, the ITF and World Taekwondo developed along different lines. One stayed with traditional taekwondo while the other led in changing taekwondo into a worldwide sport similar to boxing.

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