Olympics Sports >> Taekwondo

Taekwondo

THE 8 EVENTS

  • Men (4 events): under 58kg, under 68kg, under 80kg, over 80kg
  • Women (4 events): under 49kg, under 57kg, under 67kg, over 67kg

THE FORMAT

For each weight category, the competition unravels in a straight knock-out format. The losers of the semi-finals drop into the final four of the consolation tournament. All competitors beaten by the finalists also enter the consolation tournament, with the winners fighting for two bronze medals.

MILESTONES

1st century B.C

A martial arts defence sport is the predecessor to taekwondo.

7th century

In Korea, combats involving the use of hands and feet take place.

16th century

According to legend, 700 Koreans disrupted the invading Japanese by using this type of combat.

1910-45

During the Japanese occupation of Korea, the practice of martial arts is banned, although many still continue to be practised in secret.

1955

A South Korean general invents the name "taekwondo". Tae (foot), kwon (fist) and do (way) thus translates as "way of the foot and fist".

1973

The first world championships are held in Seoul.

1988

Taekwondo takes part as a demonstration sport in the Olympic programme in Seoul.

1992

At the Barcelona Games, taekwondo is once again a demonstration sport.

2000

The sport makes its official Olympic debut in Sydney.

THE STARS

Jung Jae-eun (South Korea)

The precocious champion. World champion in 1997 at the age of 17. The South Korean won the Olympic title in 2000 and repeated his world title achievement in 2001.

Steven Lopez (United States)

A great progression. Winner of the World Cup in 1997, the American continued his rise by winning the 1999 Pan American title, a feat he repeated in 2003. He also won two Olympic gold medals in 2000 (in the 68kg event) and 2004 (in the under 80kg event), as well as four world titles (2001, 2003, 2005, 2007).

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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