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London 2012 Olympic Taekwondo

By Edited Jan 23, 2016 0 0

The perfect combination of finesse, poise, and strength makes an excellent Olympic taekwondo athlete. Rooted in Korean culture taekwondo, literally means "to strike with foot", has been passed from generation to generation for centuries. It is the oldest of all the martial arts but is by far the most sophisticated. Although the ultimate goal is to kick your opponent in the torso or neck, the posture and form in which the fighter starts from is equally as important as landing a solid blow to the opposition.

The matrial art has had to adapt to Olympic safety and competition standards in order to become an official Olympic sport. An Olympic taekwondo fight consists of three semi-continuous bouts with one minutes rest in between. In each round points are tallied by the four judges and by electric sensors in the chest protector of the fighter. Points are awarded for three reasons: one point is awarded for a punch or kick to the chest and an additional point if the defender is spun around(backed turned toward attacker) by action, a kick to the head is three points and must be awarded by the one of the four judges. Punches to the head are not allowed and repeated offense could result in judges stopping the fight and the offender automatically being disqualified, although this situation is very rare.

To equal the playing field athletes are separated into four weight classes, therefore before every match each athlete is required to weigh in. In Beijing the four classes for men were 58 kilograms(kg), 68 kg, 80 kg, and 80 kg +. Winners of the gold medal came from favorites Guillermo Perez of Mexico, Son Tae-Jin of South Korean, Hadi Saej of Iran, and Cha Dong- Min of South Korea, respectively. Looking ahead to the London 2012 Olympics all are close favorites along with Mark Lopez of the United States in the 68 kg weight class and Alexandros Nikolaidis of Greece in 80 kg + weight class. In the other two classes there are no other definite stand outs, competition has been close over the past couple years producing not a single stand out.

On the women's side, South Korea also dominated the medal count taking the 57 and 67 kg weight classes with rising star Lim Su-Jeong and seasoned veteran Hwang Kyung-Seon. Maria Espinoza of Mexico took home gold in 67 kg + and Wu Jingyu of China dominated super Flyweight(49 kg), taking home gold. All women are primed and ready to retain their titles at the London 2012 Olympics.

Olympic Taekwondo has taken off, gaining viewership across the board. However with more fans comes more scrutiny, errors in judging has started the debate should the scoring be completely electronic, head to toe. Older members of the governing body believe the sport should remain simple like its origins while the younger athletes claim human error plays to big of a part in who wins or loses. London says it will not make scoring fully automated but who knows what the future holds for Olympic Taekwondo.

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