Thursday, July 17, 2008

TKD Olympics TV Coverage

So I went looking for a schedule of Olympic TV coverage of TKD for the US market. According to this press release, there isn't any actual TV coverage scheduled. Only live online streaming at, which I'm sure will be in the middle of the night since Beijing is 14 hours ahead of my timezone. With all the press the "First Family of Taekwondo" has been getting, I'm surprised there isn't any TV coverage. I'm praying that the US team does well and medal in which case there could be at least some coverage of the athlete's specific rounds in the nightly highlights.

In preparation, I watched some of their archived video of matches. Despite knowing some TKD, I found the matches hard to follow. I personally have not done any real sparring yet which accounts for some of it but I at least expected to follow it some. The video I watched didn't have any commentator on it though which is part of the problem. I couldn't understand what the referee was saying either because I don't know that much Korean. All in all, as a broadcast sport to the US population, it's not there yet which is probably why there isn't much TV coverage.

I tried to find statistics on how many people practice Taekwondo in the US but my google-fu is weak. Maybe that means not enough to even bother but I doubt it. The closest data points I found were that 21.7 million adults have practiced martial arts in the US and in 2003 there were over 1.5 million practicing martial artists. One would think that with the in-roads that MMA is making on TV, that some of the olympic coverage of martial arts would pick up.

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