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Taekwondo at the 2016 Olympics

The 2016 Olympics are coming (eventually)... and Taekwondo will again be part of the Olympic games. The 2016 Olympics will be located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We will keep you up-to-date with news regarding Taekwondo & the 2016 Olympics.


2016 Olympic Facts

  • The 2016 Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Link to the official 2016 Olympic website.
  • Taekwondo will participate in the 2016 Olympics.
  • However, there are questions on whether Taekwondo will be offered in the 2020 Olympics (and this issue will be decided in 2013).

2012 Olympic Taekwondo Match Video Replays

Final 2012 Olympic Taekwondo Medal Count

  • Spain - 1 gold, 2 silver
  • China - 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
  • Turkey - 1 gold, 1 silver
  • S. Korea - 1 gold, 1 silver
  • UK - 1 gold, 1 bronze
  • Italy - 1 gold, 1 bronze
  • France - 1 silver, 1 bronze
  • USA - 2 bronze
  • Russia - 2 bronze
  • Argentina - 1 gold
  • Serbia - 1 gold
  • Iran - 1 silver
  • Gabon - 1 silver
  • Thailand - 1 bronze
  • Taiwan - 1 bronze


  • Mexico - 1 bronze
  • Germany - 1 bronze
  • Afghanistan - 1 bronze
  • Columbia - 1 bronze
  • Croatia - 1 bronze
  • Cuba - 1 bronze


My personal ending comments regarding Taekwondo in the 2012 Olympics

  • A very diverse group of winners this year and a number of the traditional Taekwondo powerhouse countries did poorly.
  • Spain did much better than expected. Congrats!
  • The UK has a new Taekwondo champion who should be a strong competitor in a number of future Olympics - Jade "Headhunter" Jones! She was only 19 at the 2012 London Olympics.
  • This was an extremely poor Olympics for South Korean Taekwondo. I am sure there will be tremendous soul searching in that country because they did not dominate their national sport. Sort of like when the USA lost in men's basketball during the 2004 Olympics. Hopefully, Korea will exam their mistakes and come back stronger for the 2016 Olympics.
  • USA also did poorly in Olympic Taekwondo. Unfortunately, the Lopez family exited quickly and may be too old to help in 2016. Luckily, bronze medalist Paige McPherson was only 21 at the 2012 London Olympics. She should come back even stronger for the 2016 Olympics.
  • Most Taekwondo analysts seem to be pleased that the Taekwondo matches in the 2012 Olympics were more exciting and less controversial. This means that Taekwondo is more likely to be included in future Olympics (as it was on the verge of being eliminated after a number of controversies in the 2008 games). For more, please read this Reuters article, Yahoo Sports article or this Dong-A article (a major S. Korean newspaper). However, this The Independent article (UK newspaper) thinks that Taekwondo could be excluded from the 2020 Olympics. You should also read this The Atlantic article that discusses potential replacements... squash, speed climbing, roller derby, etc. Then again the Olympics includes "real sports" such as ribbon dancing (rhythmic gymnastics)! Come on IOC!!! You need to include sports with huge worldwide appeal (i.e. Taekwondo) versus unknown & unpopular niche sports. 

Past Taekwondo Olympic Facts

  • The 2012 Olympics were held in London, England. This event started on July 27 and ended on August 12, 2012.
  • Taekwondo was only one of two "traditional" martial arts participating in the 2012 Olympics. The other was Judo.
  • Here are the profiles of the top Taekwondo Olympic athletes. Many of these athletes (i.e. Steven Lopez of the US and Cha Dong-Min of S. Korea) have won medals in past Olympics.
  • There are four weight classes. Men - under 58 kg, 58-68 kg, 68-80 kg and 80+ kg. Women - under 49 kg, 49-57 kg, 57-67 kg and 67+ kg.
  • However in the 2012 Olympics, a country could only compete in two weight classes per gender. Thus a single country could only win a maximum of 4 possible gold medals in Taekwondo at the 2012 Olympics (2 for the men & 2 for the women).
  • The competition consists of sparring for three rounds of two minutes each. If the match has not been decided after these three rounds, the match has a sudden death round.
  • Officials are trying to make Olympic Taekwondo even more exciting so they are awarding more points for spectacular head kicks. According to Wikipedia, "a kick or punch that makes contact with the opponent's hogu (the body guard that functions as a scoring target) scores one point; if a kick to the hogu involved a technique that includes fully turning the attacking competitor's body, so that the back is fully exposed to the targeted competitor during execution of the technique, an additional point is awarded; a kick to the head scores three points; as of October 2010 an additional point is awarded if a turning kick was used to execute this attack"... "Blows are full force; if one competitor is knocked out by a legal attack, the attacking competitor is declared the winner, since the WTF allows knockouts in sparring competition."
  • The primary gold medals winners in the 2008 Olympics were South Korea - 4, Mexico - 2, China - 1 and Iran - 1. The US came in second in the overall medal count with 1 silver and 2 bronze medals. However, no gold medals.
  • Historically, South Korea has been the primary winner at Olympic Taekwondo. However, other countries (i.e. Iran, China and USA) are becoming more & more competitive. Because Taekwondo originated in Korea, there is tremendous pressure on the Korean athletes to win Olympic gold. For more, please read this Reuters article entitled "Olympic-South Koreans fear being branded Taekwondo traitors" (if they lose).
  • The Lopez family is America's best known Taekwondo Olympic participants.
  • Support the US Taekwondo Olympic team and donate to help America's Olympic efforts.


Videos of Olympic Taekwondo Athletes from Various Countries

  • Aaron Cook - These Taekwondo videos focus on Aaron Cook who is an Olympic contestant from the UK. He knocked out Steven Lopez (the Olympic gold medalist) in 2009.
  • Cha Dong-Min - These Taekwondo videos focus on Cha Dong-Min who is an Olympic gold medalist from S. Korea.
  • Jade Jones - These Taekwondo videos focus on Jade Jones who is a young Olympic Taekwondo star from the UK.
  • Steven Lopez - These Taekwondo videos focus on Steven Lopez who is an Olympic gold medalist from the USA. He will be competing in the 2012 Olympics.
  • Diana Lopez - These Taekwondo videos focus on Diana Lopez who has won a bronze medal at the Olympics. She is the sister of Steven Lopez.
  • Hadi Saei - These Taekwondo videos focus on Hadi Saei who is an Olympic gold medalist from Iran. He has won two gold medals at the Olympics (in 2004 and 2008).
  • Sarah Stevenson - These Taekwondo videos focus on Sarah Stevenson who is an Olympic Taekwondo star from the UK.

Interesting Articles about Taekwondo Olympic Athletes (these articles open in a new window)


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