[LETTERS to the editor]Rugby should replace taekwondo

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[LETTERS to the editor]Rugby should replace taekwondo

Over 50 million people in 177 countries practice taekwondo today because of the efforts made by Korean taekwondo instructors. The sport has been tarnished severely in recent years by an embezzlement scandal involving Kim Un-yong, the former head of the World Taekwondo Federation.
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, was granted an honorary doctorate by Kim Byung-muk, president of Kyung Hee University, while Choue Chung-won, head of the World Taekwondo Federation (and son of the founder of Kyung Hee University), looked on.
The granting of the doctorate may be said to have washed the sport clean.
However, that was before 37 people, including an official from the World Taekwondo Federation, were charged in Seoul with either taking (or paying) money to issue (or obtain) referee licenses fraudulently.
The sport is said to be in danger again of being dropped from the Summer Olympic Games, but only starting in 2016. In loyalty to my alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley, I favor rugby as a replacement for taekwondo. This year the Cal Bears beat the Brigham Young University Cougars rugby team, 29-26, to win its third consecutive title. The Cal Bears team has won 14 of the last 15 national collegiate rugby championships.
Television revenue from Athens enabled the International Olympic Committee to fork over a record $256 million to participating sports associations for the next quadrennium, including one-tenth of that money to track and field, and one-twentieth of that money, respectively, to aquatics (swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo), basketball, cycling, gymnastics, soccer, tennis and volleyball ... minus certain administrative charges, of course.
I recently went to the Olympics store in this city of Qingdao, which will host the 2008 Summer Games sailing event. I bought a set of pins. I was handed a brochure showing all 45 sets. Forty thousand baseball pin sets will be issued; this for a sport which is to be eliminated! Twenty thousand pin sets for modern pentathlon will be issued. But 50,000 will be issued for taekwondo; so let’s eliminate modern pentathlon, replacing it with rugby!


by Richard Thompson
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