Host City: Sydney, Australia
Date Started: September 27, 2000
Date Finished: September 27, 2000
Participants: 102 (54 men and 48 women) from 50 countries
Youngest Participant: Sarah Stevenson (17 years, 184 days)
Oldest Participant: Cheryl-Ann Sankar (36 years, 216 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 24 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): South Korea (4 medals)
Taekwondo had been a demonstration sport in 1988 and 1992, but was moved onto the Olympic Program as a full medal sport in 2000. Taekwondo is a martial art that is the national sport of Korea, which lobbied hard for its inclusion on the Olympic Program. Taekwondo comes from the Korean words tae – meaning “to strike or break with foot”; kwon – “to strike or break with fist”; and do – meaning “the way of.” There are various styles of taekwondo, which developed originally out of other martial arts, including Okinawan karate. The style used in Olympic and world competition is the sparring system sihap gyeorugi.
There were four events for men and women held at Sydney in 2000, which was somewhat controversial. The World Taekwondo Championships, which have been contested since 1973, have usually had eight classes for men and eight for women. But to keep down the number of competitors, the IOC limited the sport to only four classes for men and women. Further, nations could only enter competitors in four classes, two for men and two for women, which limited Korea somewhat, which had always led the medal table, for both men and women, at the World Championships, as one would expect, and this would be continue to be true through 2007.
The 2000 taekwondo tournament was contested at the State Sports Centre within the Olympic Park in Sydney, which also hosted table tennis events. As expected Korea was the dominant nation, with all four of their athletes winning medals, three of them gold. No other nation won two events, with only Australia, Cuba, and Chinese Taipei winning two medals.