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"Profile of Olympic Taekwondo Competitors, A"

Kazem, Moshen
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2006)

Not Recommended

At Ryerson University in Toronto, a group of researchers profiled the physical characteristics of successful Olympic Taekwondo athletes in the 2000 Sydney games compared to their unsuccessful competitors. The purpose of their study was to determine if there are any inherent links between anthropological variables and performance outcomes, and if so, what those characteristics might be.

Although I found some of their findings interesting, such as the correlation between a low Body Mass Index and success on the Olympic arena, parts of the article tended to drift off-subject, providing a history of taekwondo and giving a synopsis of its development into an internationally recognized Olympic sport. In other places in the article, the authors provided additional facts about the scoring breakdown during the games, determining that offensive kicks accounted for 52% of the techniques used to score points and kicks, rather than hand techniques, accounted for a full 98% of the scoring. However, despite some handy statistical facts, a great deal of their findings appeared to be common sense.

For instance, the authors found that successful athletes had somewhat lower body fat (2.3%) and were slightly taller than their unsuccessful competitors. Seeing that a taller, leaner athlete stands a more statistical chance of striking a target compared to someone who may be shorter, like myself, with less reach should not be a surprise. The authors go on to suggest that lack of proper physique can hinder successful sport performance at the Olympic level. Another obvious statement, which could be true in nearly any sport. Based on their statistics, the authors also determined that a successful athlete could reach a higher maximum running speed and a higher anaerobic threshold at a lower heart rate, which in my opinion also relates to the amount of proper conditioning.

Perhaps in another sporting event, the statistics the authors used to develop their study might become more varied, but for this study, the physique of the competitors might have had a smaller variation since taekwondo depends upon short, quick bursts of energy rather than endurance, thus making their study inconclusive at best. Perhaps for their next study, the authors should compile anthropological characteristics of a wider range of athletes, both short duration and endurance, and determine if any similarities exist. But other than the obvious advantages for lean bodies and longer reach, the study seemed inconclusive and not worth the trouble to read.

Annotated by: Todd Whaley (November 2006)

Martial Arts: Taekwondo |

Topics: training/exercise science |



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