As Interim CEO of USA Taekwondo, I would like to thank our membership and participants for being a part of the 2013 USAT National Championships— the largest taekwondo event in the world. With 4190 athletes, more than 830 coaches, 140 referees and 18 rings, it has taken a collective effort from all staff and referees to pull this off in just six days. I commend and congratulate everyone who has helped to make this happen to this point.
As we have learned, an event this large does present some issues. I offer my sincere apologies to all participants of the 2013 USA Taekwondo National Championships for the delays that you may have experienced during the first day of credential pick-up and on the heavier days of the weigh-in process in Chicago. We understand the frustrations that come with experiencing such delays, long lines and wait times. I can assure you that options will be explored for future USAT events to alleviate some of the waiting time.
On Day 1 there were approximately 2200 credentials picked up by our registrants. This is the largest percentage of credentials distributed on the first day of our events. This large number was a combination of next-day athlete check-in as well as athletes and coaches checking-in days earlier than their scheduled competition. Additionally, the total number of participants far exceeded the number of past event entrants by more than 1000 registrants. With this in mind, our process of providing for the distribution of credentials and weighing our participating athletes will be reviewed and adjusted as needed. During the times that I was in the Registration Area, I did notice most of our members displaying true adherence to the tenets of taekwondo, specifically Courtesy, Self-Control and Perseverance. There were only a few instances of our volunteers and staff members having to deal with irate customers. Thank you to those of you who were patient in dealing with a situation that was difficult for us all.
The 2013 USA Taekwondo National Championships had an unprecedented growth spurt and reached numbers in participation that have not been seen in our organization over the past 10 years; As mentioned earlier, we had an astounding 4190 athletes, 830+ coaches and 140 referees. Of course, the good news is that our event is growing, our supporters are growing in number and people are having experiences that lead them to once again support USA Taekwondo. While there are many positives to take away from this year's event, I wish to address the few negatives, such as the delays in waiting to get credentials, and also the fact that we experienced long days of competitions with a few lasting late into the night. This is a great hardship on our volunteers, referees, Tournament Committee and staff. To those groups of people who manage our events each day, I offer my appreciation for the tremendous job that they have done thus far and continue to do at each of our USA Taekwondo events. Even with 18 rings of competition at this year's event, it was not possible to prevent the long days of competition that were due, in large part, to the great increase in the numbers of competitors. It is not possible to add additional rings for obvious reasons. Supporters, coaches, family members and others have stayed throughout the competition to support their athletes. The message that I would like to get out to all participants and interested taekwondo supporters is that we do care about improving our events year-to-year and we will do our very best to eliminate the negative side of things so that all participants, athletes, coaches, referees, volunteers, staff, Tournament Committee members and spectators will have a very positive and memorable experience at future USA Taekwondo events.
Again, my apologies for all who have been inconvenienced at the 2013 USA Taekwondo National Championships. Please come back next year to San Jose, Calif., and experience the improvements that will be made to improve your experience.