Patterico's Pontifications

8/22/2008

Update on Olympic Gymnastics and Taekwondo

Filed under: International,Sports — DRJ @ 7:41 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

A couple of days ago, the IOC bowed to increasing pressure and asked the FIG (International Gymnastics Federation) to look into the age of China’s gold medal gymnasts:

“A gymnast must be 16 in an Olympic year to compete at the games. But questions about the ages of at least three of the athletes have persisted. Online records and media reports suggest three Chinese gymnasts—He, Jiang Yuyuan and Yang Yilin—may be as young as 14.

The IOC had said previously that it had verified the passports of all athletes competing at the games.

“We are not in a position to say ‘It’s good, it’s not good.’ It’s a government document,” FIG president Bruno Grandi said earlier this week in an interview with The Associated Press.”

The AP said it found online registration lists showing two of the Chinese gymnasts are under 16, but it will be hard for officials to disregard the official Chinese passports.

Now, today, the IOC is faced with another bombshell as the US taekwondo team leader has alleged poor judging, erroneous appeal procedures, and an attempt to prevent parties from filing appeals:

“In a chaotic episode that might ultimately prove to be the tipping point to Olympic doom, American two-time defending gold medalist Steven Lopez was eliminated from gold-medal contention on a controversial referee’s decision. Lopez would go on to win bronze in the 80-kilogram weight class, but not until after his team leader, Herb Perez, had filed a protest and then ripped the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) for intimidation and gross mismanagement of the sport’s rules and oversight.

“When (poor judging) happens to you, you’re told to shut up and not say anything because of what will happen to you, or what will happen to the sport,” Perez said. “If this is truly what taekwondo is about, maybe taekwondo shouldn’t be in the Olympics. Maybe they should fix it.”

Steven Lopez is a former Olympic gold medalist who hasn’t lost a match since 2002. His brother Mark and sister Diana are also members of the US taekwondo team. Earlier they won silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the Beijing Olympics. There were also questions raised regarding the judge’s ruling in Mark’s medal match.

— DRJ

18 Responses to “Update on Olympic Gymnastics and Taekwondo”

  1. Can anyone hold onto the baton in the relays?

    JD (5f0e11)

  2. Not in America. My suggestion is to use stick’em on one hand and then change hands before they pass.

    Of course, I’m sort of kidding … but then again I’m sort of not.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  3. I practiced Tae Kwon Do for a year. It’s closer to dancing than it is to a sport or self-defense. Any fifty-year old punched out boxer would kick any Tae Kwon Do Olympic gold medal winner’s ass in any place where the dancer could not run away.

    So the judging is subjective like dancing or ice skating. Want to make it objective? Make it full contact. Then there’s no question about who’s down flat and who’s on his feet.

    nk (3c7a86)

  4. Our son’s a black-belt in taekwondo and the ones I’ve seen are incredible athletes. (Our son also received state recognition in basketball so I can compare taekwondo to sports.) Properly taught taekwondo is difficult and an excellent form of self-defense for men and women. However, there are many levels of instruction in the US and not all instructors teach or prepare their students to the same level.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  5. I was taught to stop short. Full contact was a demerit or a forfeit. If things have changed, I’m glad.

    nk (3c7a86)

  6. They hit as hard as possible in sparring and that’s what this is, which is why they wear headgear. They aren’t supposed to hit the face but others parts of the body are fair game including the head.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  7. In the lower belts, instructors generally discourage contact because students don’t have enough control yet. They also teach young children the value of “running away” from real threats. It’s a wonderful sport for girls and boys, and a great way for children to gain self-confidence and self-control.

    DRJ (a5243f)

  8. The rule is light contact to the the head and medium contact to the body. TKD is not a sport, hobby, part-time weight loss activity, dance, or breathing exercise.

    TKD isn’t for the dilettante or the faint of heart. It’s a martial art, and requires dedication, and intense training over a number of years.

    If you don’t anticipate a career as a warrior, avoid TKD, it’s hard on the knees and knuckles.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  9. It would be fun to see Jiang Yuyuan try to compete in shot put.

    Wesson (f6c982)

  10. Did any of you see the awful refereeing and judging in the boxing competition? These sports that rely upon judges to determine the outcome have always been problematic. Just ask the figure skaters.

    JVW (d54fc4)

  11. I really think that Tae Kwon Do in the Olympics should not even be a sport. All I see is round horse kicks not really any good execution of any techniques what so ever. I’m just watching it as a sport, and honestly it the most boring sport of all. They look like they are dancing and hoping around more than fighting or showing or any skills learned in training. A complete waste of time and energy.

    Lynn (659f96)

  12. I have never seen a round horse before.

    I prefer Krav Maga to Tae Kwon Do. Uber-aggressive self defense.

    JD (5f0e11)

  13. It would fun fun to spar with a Tae Kwon Do person, though I suspect it would not last very long.

    JD (5f0e11)

  14. I’m sorry I started this. I would not actually want to see Olympic athletes beating each other to a bloody pulp like professional boxers. I imagine that the TKD competitors are all at the same level when it comes to speed, timing, strength and endurance. Like I said, I would not want to test their pain threshold. So what’s left is form and presence of mind/tactics which are largely subjective.

    nk (3c7a86)

  15. I think the current Olympics Tae kwon Do should be completely taken out of the Olympics as an event. This event is a complete waste of time as I do not see any skills or techniques involved in this sport. I cannot understand what would compel a person to train for four years for the Olympics, only to spent maybe 20 seconds really fighting. Most of the time, I see the participants of this so call sports dancing around like chickens in what resembles a Mexican cock fight. The fighters of this sport seem to be hugging each other every few second because they do not want to engage in proper combat. If hugging and dancing around in the ring seems to be the goal, perhaps the OIC should introduce ballroom dancing as a replacement for this sorry sport.

    I did a search on the internet and the meaning of Tae Kwon Do and this is the translation Tae = kick, Kwon = punch/hand and Do = Art. I think the Olympic version of this sport should be renamed Round Horse Kick Do as this is the only kick executed by the participants and mentioned by the commentators every time. What happen to the punches, high spinning kicks, combination kick punches and high jump kicks which are the foundation of this very sport?

    Furthermore, I understand that Tae Kwon Do Olympics does not necessary represent the best competitors in the world as there are a few equally strong governing bodies in the world of Tae Kwon Do.

    Tae Kwon Do goes against the very motto of the Olympic; Swifter, Higher, Stronger. I do not see this sport demonstrating these qualities. Oh well maybe “swifter” round horse kicks but not executed properly, “higher” the screams as if being possessed by the devil in a sorry B rate movie, and “stronger” the bouncing around like chickens fighting.

    For Olympic Tae Kwon Do to survive as a sport in the long run, the sport needs to reinvent itself. Firstly, the Tae Kwon Do committee in the OIC needs to re-look at the scoring system in the free sparing event. Participants should be encouraged to execute proper techniques and encouraged to use more combination kicks and punches with extra points awarded for difficult executed techniques. Judges should penalize single technique fights such as round horse kick through the match.

    Secondly, new events such as high kick and distance kicks events should be introduced. For example participants should be competing on how high or far they can successfully kick a static target over obstacles. This introduction will see improvements of the participants in every Olympics as they will be looking forward to break these height or distance kicking record. Even gymnastics has included the trampoline into its discipline.

    Thirdly, OIC should include all Tae Kwon Do governing bodies in order for it to be recognized as a truly global sport. When the gold medal is awarded to a participant, the spectators will know that the person standing on the podium is really the world’s greatest.

    Justin (659f96)

  16. Justin @ 7:20a,

    If you feel so srongly about Olympic TKD, just you wait. Ballroom dancing is practically a blood sport compared to some of the PC events. Lay in a good supply of you preferred intoxicant and prepare to be entertained. May the force be with you.

    Ropelight (4a83c9)

  17. JD – Agreed about Krav. Its workout is brutal and it’s about as practical as you can get in a situation that you might actually face as opposed to a controlled Karate Kid scenario like a lot of martial arts seem to depend on. Plus the origins in the IDF are wonderful – nothing like telling some PC dork that you take Israeli martial arts. My favorite combo is to do a Krav class then go to the range and fire my Ruger SP101 .357 magnum with a couple of boxes of ammo from Wal-Mart.

    Jack Klompus (b0e238)

  18. Minor point: There are several kicks used in Taekwondo and one of them is the “round house” kick. It’s not the “round horse” kick.

    DRJ (a5243f)


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