Olympic Taekwondo was introduced at the 2000 games in Sydney having been a demonstration sport in 1988 and 1992.
Olympic Taekwondo is governed by World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), which was founded in 1973.
Both punches and kicks can be used in Taekwondo, although it is mostly dominated by kicking techniques. See main Taekwondo article here. In Olympic Taekwondo full contact sparring is used.
Competitors are matched in weight classes (see below) and follow a knockout format to reach the final, unusually there are also 2 bronze medals. Matches take place on an 8 metre x 8 metre court for 3 x 2 minute rounds. Points are scored when valid target areas (body and head) are struck or deducted for rule infringements (4 penalty points results in a disqualification). The highest score or a knockout wins, but if it goes full time and the competitors have the same score, then it goes to sudden death. There is a main referee and corner judges, however in recent years electronic sensor scoring and video replays have been introduced.
Olympic Taekwondo Weight Classes
– 58 kg men
58 – 68kg
68 – 80kg
49 – 57kg
57 – 67kg
Boundary line – The outer edge of the contest area.
Cha-ryeot – The command given by the referee to adopt a position of attention.
Chung – Blue competition gear.
Contest area – 8-10 metre main contest mat area.
Deuk-jeom – A point.
Gam-jeom – A penalty point.
Hong – Red competition gear.
Joon-bi – The command given by the referee to get ready to start the contest.
Kal-yeo – The command given by the referee to break, or move away from an opponent.
Keu-man – The command given by the referee to stop the contest.
Knockdown – Rule for when a competitor is knocked to the floor, or is unable to continue.
Knockout – When a competitor is unable to continue due to being knocked out.
Kyeong-rye – The command given by the referee to bow.
Kye-shi – The command given by the referee to suspend the match as a competitor needs first aid.
Kye-sok – The command given by the referee to continue.
Kyong-go – Warning for rule violation, a half point may be deducted or combined with another warning to deduct one full point.
Referee’s mark – A mark on the mat where the referee begins and ends each round.
Scoring area – An area of the competitors head or body where a valid strike are scored.
Shi-gan – When a match is suspended for non medical reasons by the referee they will give this command.
Shi-jak – The command given by the referee to start the contest.
Sudden death – When full time has been reached and the scores are even, competitors will continue until someone scores the next first point to be declared the winner.
Yeo-dul (8) – Similar to boxing’s 8 count. A mandatory count for a downed competitor to see if they can continue.
Yeol (10) – Similar to boxing’s 10 count and a knockout.
Olympic Taekwondo Years
1988 – (demonstration only)
1992 – (demonstration only)
2000 – (Men and Women)
2004 – (Men and Women)
2008 – (Men and Women)
2012 – (Men and Women)
2016 – (Men and Women)
2020 – (Men and Women)
Equipment used in Olympic Taekwondo Events
Body Guard/Chest Protectors