Kevin Padilla (Hoboken, N.J.) was elected chair of the USA Taekwondo board of directors at a directors' meeting last weekend in New Orleans. Padilla has served on the 10-member board as coach director since 2006.
"I am honored to have been elected as chair of the board of directors," said Padilla. "With this election comes much responsibility to continue to shape, guide and lead this great organization. I would like to acknowledge and thank our outgoing chair, Ronda Sweet, for her leadership of the board over the past two years."
Padilla takes over the role of chair from Ronda Sweet (Gretna, La.) who has served in that capacity since 2007 and remains on the board as grassroots director.
"First of all we must thank Ronda Sweet for her tireless service as chair of this organization," said USAT CEO David Askinas. "Few people have worked as hard as Ronda has over the past few years for the benefit of this organization. We are fortunate to retain the benefit of her knowledge and dedication on the board for the next four years. We welcome Kevin Padilla as the new chair of USA Taekwondo. Kevin has been both a world class athlete and coach. He is also a club owner and understands the complexities and nuances of the dojang owner's business. He brings a wealth of organizational knowledge and history to the table and will strive to make USAT a better organization."
As a competitor, Padilla was a four-time U.S. National Team member, as well as a World Cup medalist and U.S. Taekwondo Union Athlete of the Year.
"Our vision for the future is to keep the athlete as the central theme of why we exist -- athletes throughout the entire pipeline, starting from within our clubs from the grassroots to the world class level in both poomsae and sparring," Padilla added. "As well, we must have competent coaches to drive the programs for sustainability, keeping taekwondo relevant not only within the Olympic Sports movement, but in the USA and around the world."
He is also a past vice president for the New Jersey State Association and a volunteer for the New York Sport Taekwondo Commission where he helped the non-profit organization raise funds to provide international competition opportunities for taekwondo athletes in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
"Creating opportunities, alliances and partnerships is what we have to focus on leading up to London 2012 and beyond," Padilla said. "We have to partner with Chicago 2016 over these next seven months so that we can bring home the Olympic Games to the USA. This is a very critical time for the U.S. Olympic movement in that the growth of taekwondo and other sports in America is dependent on creating a strategic plan in concert with Chicago 2016 prior to and during the 17 days of the Games, and most importantly for the development of a sustainable legacy for future generations."
Padilla has served on the USTU Athletes' Advisory Council, Executive Committee, Coaching Science Committee and Junior Olympic Committee. He has been a member of the U.S. National Team coaching staff since 2006 and lent his coaching skills at junior world championships, Pan Am Games, world championships and the Beijing Olympic Games. Padilla currently provides content for the USAT Coaching Identification & Development Program (CIDP).
"I have been fortunate to have gone through both the athlete and coaching pipeline from a grassroots level to the world stage and now as your board chair," said Padilla. "We all have a great amount of passion for the martial art and sport we love so let's lock arms and work together to grow our sport nationally to keep taekwondo thriving and healthy for years to come. Please feel free to contact me to discuss how we can inspire young athletes to take up taekwondo so the young can strive for personal excellence and a healthy lifestyle."