When Taekwondo began between the 1940s and the 1950s, nobody thought it could become an Olympic sport, as matter of fact, the Olympic games were still an in-progress event with just a handful of events. No, those who decided to wear a taekwondo uniform made it with the idea of becoming masters of a new martial art.
Let’s take one very important thing to mind, for a sport to be considered as part of the Olympic movement said sport needs to be practiced literally all over the world and have federations and such formed that can rule matches and forms demonstrations.
In its early Taekwondo practitioners were followers of a new martial arts style, and the keyword being “new” remember that in its earliest Taekwondo was a martial art that was a mix of several Korean and Japanese styles so not many knew the styles and at the same time not many were following it.
It took several decades to the first step for what we know today happened: first, that those in the knowledge of this new martial art migrated to all continents and after that, to see how many of them decided to open schools and pass their knowledge to eager students.
Once this was achieved the second part of the process could take place, and that was for each country to have a federation that could provide rules accordingly and create tournaments that expanded from national, to regional and finally to continental.
This was a slow process of course and took the initiative of much interested in it to happen. After that came the challenge: Make Taekwondo an Olympic sport.
GET INTO THE OLYMPIC GAMES
The year was 1973, roughly three decades after this martial art came into existence, at this point in time the WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) came into existence with one mission: promote taekwondo globally as a sport and with this make it an Olympic sport.
This was not easy of course, it took another eleven years for the International Olympic Committee to recognize the WTF, this was step 1. This meant that they were aware of the sport being practiced in all continents and that there was an entity regulating and dictating rules to determine national, regional and continental champions. Remember, any sport that is included in the Olympic games (either winter or summer) needs to go through what is known as “Olympic Cycle” which means competitions that begin in each city of each country, those who qualify to go to regional competitions and ultimately to continental competitions.
At this point, the regulating party (aka the WTF) sets the ruling that decides which athletes qualify for the Olympic Games.
They also determine what is allowed and what is not, the type of Taekwondo Uniform and gear can be worn and how points are measured to determine the winner of a match or how forms are judged.
So, at this point in 2017, regional competitions have just begun to start determining who will be the athletes that we will see representing their countries in 2020 when the Olympic games are celebrated in Tokyo, Japan.