Olympic Taekwondo: to be or not to be
Being part of the Olympic core sports group enables Taekwondo to benefit from the revenues that the International Olympic Committee obtains in every Olympic cycle, and the last 4-year period was specially profitable for the Olympic Movement. The revenues of the 2009-2012 cycle have broken the 8 billion USD barrier, basically thanks a to a massive 52-per-cent increase in the value of the Games’ media rights (3.91 billion USD) compared with the previous period (2.57 billion USD).
– How is this money distributed?
The IOC puts aside over 90% of the Olympic marketing revenue to organisations within the Olympic Movement. These include the 204 NOCs, their Olympic teams and athletes, the OCOGs and the International Federations (IFs) of the various Olympic sports, including the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). These funds are aimed to support the staging of the Olympic Games and promote the development of the Olympic sports around the world. The IOC retains less than 10% of Olympic marketing revenue to cover the operational and administrative costs of governing the Olympic Movement.
Taking the previously mentioned figures into account, the 26 Olympic summer sports federations are set to receive more than $450 million (£280 million/€345 million) following London 2012, which marks a dramatic increase of the $296 million (£184 million/€227 million) they received from Beijing 2008.
– Who will distribute the funds?
The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) is responsible for distributing the money to the 26 sports federations that appeared at London 2012. The exact final figure hasn’t been published yet as not all the payments have been collected, but estimates suggest the figure could even approach as much as $475 million (£296 million/€365 million).
– Will the distrbution be equitable?
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will get the biggest single share based on ASOIF’s formula for distributing the money. The second-tier of ASOIF members are aquatics, basketball, football and gymnastics while the other 21 sports who participated at London 2012, including Taekwondo, are in the third tier.
The full distribution figures will be revealed at ASOIF’s General Assembly, which will take place on the side lines of SportAccord Convention 2013 in May in St Petersburg, but WTM can anticipate that the funding that the WTF will receive from the London 2012 Games will be around 8 million USD.
– MNAs funding
The WTF will use this funds to continue promoting our sport worldwide, which will directly benefit all its 204 Member National Associations (MNAs) and the rest of members of the Taekwondo family around the globe. But this is not the only funding route for the MNAs, as they also receive money from their national governments.
The difference on the amount of funding received from the government depending on the Olympic condition of a sport is specific for every country, but it’s always really significant, leading to an increase which is normally set between 20% and 80%. Here are some examples:
– Spain: The organization in charge of the Sports Federations funding (Consejo Superio de Deportes) has the Olympic condition of a sport as its first and most important criteria in order to decide the budget for every Olympic cycle.
– UK: It is not only important to be an Olympic sport but to have performed well at the last Olympics edition to become a medal hope for the next one. The great perfomance of British athletes at London 2012 has lead to a 43% increase in the funding of Taekwondo for the Rio cycle (from 4.83 million GBP to 6.9 million GBP), as UK Sport is confident on achieving medals through our sport. Other less successful sports, such as basketball, handball, table tennis and wrestling, have seen their funding cut to zero.
– Korea: The Degree in Taekwondo at Korean Universities became a reality after our Sport was added to the Olympic Programme in Sydney 2000. In addition, the number of available places for Taekwondo students would have drastically dropped in case our sport would have been removed from the Games, as the funding is directly conditioned.
– USA and Wrestling’s Olympic dropping: To realize even more about the importance of the Olympic condition, we just have to take a look at what’s happening in the USA following the Olympic exclusion of Wrestling. More than 56,000 people have signed a petition on change.org to save the sport, with the “Save Wrestling” Facebook page accumulating 41,000 members. In the USA, 272,000 young men and 8,200 young women compete on the high school level in wrestling, according to the National Federation of High Schools. The NCAA lists 79 wrestling college programs in Division I schools, whose wrestlers now will have nowhere to go to wrestle after they graduate.
All this figures and initiatives give us an idea of how important it is for a sport like ours to remain Olympic, without forgetting the prestige that implies being part of the most relevant sports event in the world.
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