Due to coaching obligations with the U.S. Army's World Class Athlete Program, men's lightweight David Bartlett (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has retired from the sport of taekwondo and will relinquish his spot on the Pan American Taekwondo Championships Team. Tal Moriah (Houston, Texas) will take Bartlett's position on the U.S. Team that will compete in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Oct. 3-5.
Bartlett, 28, won the 2008 World Military Championships and is a four-time U.S. national champion (1999, 2002, 2003 & 2006).
"A few months ago I was approached with the opportunity to coach the Taekwondo athletes in the Army's World Class Athlete Program and I accepted," said Bartlett. "I had absolutely no idea that I would be giving up my dream as a competitor at the same time. I was basing my decision off the fact that for the past three years I have been training as an athlete/coach. I had all intentions while enduring one of the toughest training camps in my taekwondo career to make the Pan Am Team and to compete at the Championships in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Upon completion of the selection camp I attended some meetings within the Army only to find out that my decision to coach was only to coach and that was that. Unfortunately I am announcing my retirement as a competitor in the sport of taekwondo.
"My next adventure stands before me, as one day I may place many soldier athletes on the Olympic team. Currently I have notified USA Taekwondo of my military obligation and my commitment to my family as they have always come first, and that I will resign my spot on the national team as a competing athlete. I have been very fortunate and blessed to be able to still attend the 2008 Pan Am Championships as part of the staff delegation to support and help team USA finish first as a whole. I have been absolutely supported by USAT and the U.S Army to pursue my coaching obligation and commitment to my country. I look forward to learning and observing from our National Team coaches as they have proven to be the best in the world."
"It is with great sadness that we have accepted the retirement of David Bartlett from our National Team programs and our Pan American Championship Team," said USAT CEO David Askinas. "David Bartlett was not only a world class athlete but he embodied the true fighting spirit we want to see in our National Team athletes. He always came to fight. David represents so much of what is good about our sport and our country. His skill, determination, physical conditioning and heart were evident for all to see. His performances in the 2007 World Championships in Beijing were inspiring. I cite his comeback win against a very good fighter from Spain as one of the best matches I have ever watched in this sport. Although David Bartlett the fighter will be missed, we now look forward to David's development as a high level coach and expect him to soon be producing world class fighters for our national team pipeline. Thank you David for all you have done for taekwondo and all you are about to do."