Former Official Says Taekwondo Bribed Its Way Into Olympics

Olympic TKD
Photo: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters
In a series of interviews with The Times of London, Ho Kim, a former official with the World Taekwondo Federation (now called World Taekwondo), claimed he bribed International Olympic Committee officials on behalf of the federation to gain the sport's inclusion in the Olympics.

Though it first debuted as a demonstration sport in the 1988 games, taekwondo struggled to gain acceptance as a full Olympic event until Kim took over as the WTF's director of marketing in 1994. He said he was tasked by Dr Kim Un-yong, then the federation's president, to secure taekwondo's spot in the Olympics by bribing IOC members. Ho Kim said he provided officials with first class plane tickets to South Korea, cash payments and prostitutes in order to secure their support. Taekwondo has been included as an official Olympic sport in every summer games since 2000. Kim Un-yong was eventually jailed in South Korea on separate corruption charges.

Ho Kim, who had also been executive director of the Amateur International Boxing Association, made additional claims about corruption in Olympic boxing including how Azerbaijan was offered a gold medal for a $10 million bribe. The IOC cast doubt on Kim's claims while World Taekwondo said they have no knowledge of his accusations.

Introducing Martial Arts School Listings on Black Belt Mag!
Sign Up Now To Be One Of The First School Listed In Our Database.
Don't miss a single issue of the worlds largest magazine of martial arts.