Let me begin by saying that my gratitude goes out to our USA Taekwondo athletes who competed in Puebla, Mexico, at the 2013 WTF World Taekwondo Championships. Our athletes did their very best to represent not only themselves, but also the USA in this critical international competition. The dedication, training and the willingness to put everything on the line in a competition is very praiseworthy, and I again commend our athletes for doing their best at this competition. The results at World Championships are, of course, not what we would have liked to see. This is the second World Championships in a row in which the U.S. has failed to earn a medal. Our goal as an organization is to put our athletes in the best position to stand tall on the medal platform at international events, more specifically at the World Championships and at the Olympic Games.
The completion of the 2013 World Taekwondo Championships coincides closely with the deadline to submit a High Performance Plan to the USOC. The High Performance Plan is the guidebook to how we, as an organization, plan to provide for our athletes to reach the medal podium of the upcoming years that lead up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. With the submission of this document to the USOC there will be several changes that are designed to place our athletes in a better position to medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. That will include more competition opportunities, chances to qualify through the newly conceived WTF Grand Prix series and to reevaluate our USA Taekwondo Team Selection Process.
One of the observations made by some people was that our team seemed dysfunctional at the World Championships. It is no secret that our USA Taekwondo National Team had two head coaches in the past. This led to the belief that the team was divided into at least two camps with competing agendas and ideas on how to achieve success. All of that is now in the past. Our National Team Coach now is Coach Patrice Remarck and he has my full support as we move forward together in restructuring how our team will work to achieve success and sustained excellence in international competitions. Coach Remarck will select which coaches will assist him in working toward the goal of competitive excellence. In a meeting with the 2013 World Championship coaching staff just after the completion of that competition, all coaches vowed that they would support Coach Remarck going forward, and that their athletes would participate as requested and required in upcoming training camps, international exchanges and competitions. It is imperative that U.S. coaches support the efforts of our National Team Coach. That is one of the ways in which our program, going forward, will have a good chance for success. “A house divided against itself shall not stand.”
Our athletes want to compete more and do better in competitions. This is an excellent opportunity for them to continue to develop their individual skills and also to work with Coach Remarck to develop the international savoir-faire and experience that is prevalent in athletes that compete more often than our American athletes. I am encouraged that our USA Taekwondo National Team, going forward, will have good results in critical competitions that lead to the Olympic podium. Of course, there will be losses along the way as they adjust to the current global competition trends that lead to success. But again, I feel certain that our athletes will rise to the competition demands internationally and they will do better quickly under the leadership and guidance of Coach Remarck.
Several USA Taekwondo athletes have qualified to participate in the 2013 Grand Prix Finals that will be held in London, England, Dec. 13-15, 2013. We have received funding from the USOC to support those athletes at this year’s Grand Prix Finals, and we are seeking, as a part of our new High Performance Plan, to get funding for the WTF Grand Prix series for the next three years that will allow us to support our USA Taekwondo athletes in those events.
In conclusion, failure dictates that we must change things, while success gives a sometimes-false sense of security that all is well. It is my intent to embrace the chance to make changes that are designed to better enable our USA Taekwondo athletes to have the opportunity to achieve sustained competitive excellence as we work toward the 2016 Rio Olympics medal podium. I ask our membership that you help us to be supportive of our athletes and our organization as we move forward. I realize that there will always be naysayers and those who will seize opportunities to disapprove of any actions made as we try to change the current climate of our USA Taekwondo culture. While I am certain that this is true of every organization, I ask that we try to unite in support of our athletes as we endeavor to return USA Taekwondo to global prominence.