Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tae Kwon Do Becomes an Olympic Sport

Neill Sullivan is an Oakland-based real estate executive who founded Sullivan Management, LLC, and REO Homes, LLC. Among his many community-wide initiatives, Neill helped launch the Sullivan Community Space, which offers free martial arts classes to local youth. One discipline of focus at the classes is tae kwon do.

Though the Korean martial art was first developed more than 2000 years ago, it was excluded from early Olympic programming. Judo made its Olympic debut at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, while tae kwon do was first included on the program as a demonstration sport in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea, 15 years after the city hosted the first ever World Championships. It wasn't until the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia, that it became an official medal sport. 

No country has dominated the podium, though Korea, China, and Turkey have had considerable success. Medals have been won by Canadians, Americans, and Germans, among others. In fact, the Rio 2016 Games produced a pair of firsts as Jordan's Ahmad Abughaush and Ivory Coast's Cheick Sallah Cissé won the first ever Olympic gold medals for their countries, both in tae kwon do.