The founding of World Taekwondo coincided with the first world championship tournament, which saw fighters from South Korea win the two men's sparring divisions contested. Four fighters from the United States placed, lead by heavyweight silver medalist Mike Warren and Black Belt hall of famer Joe Hayes, who took bronze at lightweight.
World Taekwondo would go on to garner recognition from the International Olympic Committee in 1980 and become a demonstration sport at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. It became an official Olympic sport in 2000. Though it was originally founded with just 17 member nations, World Taekwondo's governing council, meeting in Azerbaijan ahead of the upcoming world championships, moved to admit Namibia as what will now be their 213th member nation. The world championships are slated to run from May 29-June 6 featuring eight men's and eight women's sparring divisions.