2016 USA Olympic Team

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Jaeimseu, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 3rd Black Belt

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    I just read that Steven Lopez is on the team again this time. Nothing against him, but it's been a while since he did anything there. What's up with the development of talent? I realize Steven Lopez is/was a great Taekwondo athlete, but I have a hard time believing that we don't have anyone who can beat a 37 year old player.


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  2. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    I wonder how much of the problem is the lack of funding for the team, or for TKD at the college level at all?

    Talented football and basketball players get full college scholarships, so they can devote all their non-academic time to training. Olympic swimmers and runners can get lucrative corporate sponsorship deals. TKD doesn't have anything like that. I went to a seminar taught by a national team member, who casually mentioned having to take time off work to pay to fly to another continent to represent the US in a tournament. How can you have development of talent in that kind of situation, unless you're independently wealthy?
     
  3. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Welcome to our world, that's how it is in nearly all sports in the rest of the world. We don't do college sponsorships for sports people, if you go to university you are studying and paying for the privilege. Only a very few top athletes such as Mo Farah get sponsorship from companies and can be a full time athlete, you have to get to the top first though. All other sportsmen and women in whatever sport have to make huge sacrifices to succeed, that includes paying for travel, accommodation and training. usually families bear the brunt of supporting the athlete in the family.
     
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  4. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    His brother Jean is still a huge part of USA Taekwondo. Unless Steven just cannot fight anymore, they will have blinders on when it comes to Steven.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
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  5. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    From what I've heard, and I don't know to what extent this is really true, one of the complaints leveled against USAT is that unlike other US Olympics organizations, USAT does a poor job of fundraising. What I've heard is that they're just not very good at courting corporate sponsors, for instance.
     
  6. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    A lot of countries (or maybe their national organizations) do pay their Olympic athletes, sponsor training, and/or give large cash prizes to athletes that win medals. I talked to one guy who teaches TKD in another country, who said their government gave the school the local equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars, because one of their students went to the Olympics.

    Edit: oh, also.... how much does it cost to get a bachelor's degree in the UK? In the US, a public university costs I think about $20-30,000/year these days without scholarships, while a private college will run you twice that.
     
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  7. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    It's currently about £25-27,000 ($36,000-38,000) in tuition in total for the three years, but if you add in living expenses, etc it's apparently about £54,000 ($77,000).

    Cost comparison Studying in Holland vs Studying in UK
     
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  8. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    You also have to actually study, you can't just do your sport.

    Here you are talking about countries that, shall we say are less than democratic, who want their athletes to succeed on the world stage. Ordinary countries can't afford to subside athletes.
     
  9. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    That's the case in the US as well. But many big universities will give promising athletes scholarships to cover part or all of their college costs, in order to get them to go to and compete for that college's team. That gives many young people of low economic means the ability to go to a prestigious college that they otherwise could not have mustered the $200,000 or whatever to go to.

    I find it hard to believe that, say, Iran can afford to do something the US can't.
     
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  10. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Iran is a very rich country so yes it can easily afford things the US can't.
     
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  11. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 3rd Black Belt

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    The US can afford to do what it wants to do. Unfortunately, Taekwondo is not very high on the priority list. Of course, I suspect corporate sponsorship would be the best way to finance things, but putting sponsorship dollars into TKD is probably seen as a poor investment.


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  12. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Look, I wasn't insulting the US so don't take umbrage. Iran is a hugely rich country, it's one of the oil states with 10% of the world's oil and even more of it's gas.
     
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  13. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 3rd Black Belt

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    I didn't take your comment as an insult^^. I apologize if I came across that way.


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  14. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    No worries, I think the subject of Iran is understandably a touchy one for the US. The Gulf states with their immense wealth and no democracy are very prone to throwing money at their athletes, not to much effect usually though they are attracting Kenyans and other to run for them now.
     
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  15. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    Just for the fun of applying some data to this sidebar:

    List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The USA has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of about $54K per person, putting us at about #10 in the world. It's true that many of the nations higher on the list than us are wealthy oil-producing nations (Qatar, Kuwait, Brunei, United Arab Emirates), but on the whole the U.S. is (not surprisingly) a very wealthy country (we have lots of natural resources, an educated workforce, etc.).

    Iran on the other hand has a GDP per capita of only about $17K per person, putting Iran at about #70 in the world. In comparison to the number of people living in Iran, Iran doesn't actually generate a lot of wealth. One could argue that most of that wealth is concentrated in a small percentage of the population, but then again that's also true in the U.S. ...and in any case, when it comes to Olympic funding, it's not necessarily the key point anyway...a wealthy country should be able to do more anyway, regardless of how that wealth is concentrated, just by virtue of the fact that there's more "surplus" available.

    As previously noted, many countries sponsor their Olympic teams using government funding, but the U.S. relies on private funding, especially corporate sponsorships. We do have Olympic athletes and teams who are very good at getting corporate sponsorships, and others who aren't as good at this. From what I've heard U.S.A. Taekwondo has a reputation of not being very good at this.

    How Corporations Sponsor Olympic Athletes ...
    • "A handful of companies, including Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Dow Chemical, have paid dearly to be official sponsors of the Games themselves. Most companies, however, forge marketing agreements with individual athletes or groups of athletes. These sponsorships tend to be cheaper, and they provide an opportunity for companies to link their brand with the personality and accomplishments of a particular Olympian."
     
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  16. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Mmm Americans get very upset I take it if you dare suggest other countries are rich. You went to all that trouble to try and prove Iran is not a rich country, oh dear, I'm sorry if it upsets you but Iran is still a rich country, statistics don't prove an awful lot, really only what you want them to prove. The thought that 'Eye-ran' may be worth a lot of money is a disturbing one obviously, Sorry but the above post is one of the funniest I've read for ages.

    Now I will sit back while you prove how poor my country is....well it may be but it's infra dig to talk about how rich one is where I come from. :D:D:D
     
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  17. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    ???

    I already pointed out that the U.S. is number 10 on the GDP-per-capita list. There are -- by definition -- 9 countries with higher GDP than the U.S. That's nothing to get upset about...it's just a statement of arithmetic fact. Did I seem upset?

    I agree that statistics can be manipulated, but we're not talking about statistics: we're talking about dollars (or in the case of Iran, rials). If I say that 10 kilograms weighs more than 5 kilograms, that's not statistics, it's just numbers. Likewise, if I point out that $54K per person is more than $17K per person, I'm not using some fancy magic like some number wizard...I'm just pointing out that the number 54 is larger than the number 17. That's not something that a person can dispute.


    The U.S. has a GDP of about $17 trillion. Iran has a GDP of about $400 billion. Again, those aren't statistics...they're numerical facts.

    But it's not fair to compare $17 trillion to $400 billion, because the U.S. has so many more people than Iran. So if you want to make the comparison fair, you should divide by the population of each country.

    For the U.S., that comes out to $54K per person. For Iran, it's $17K per person. Now number one on the list is Qatar -- an oil-producing nation -- with a whopping GPD per capita of $137K! Wow!!! That's huge!

    See? Not upset. Impressed!
     
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  18. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, if you want to make the comparison fair, you need to adjust the numbers to consider the cost of maintaining an equal standard of living in each of the two countries.

    Doing the same job, my salary would be slightly higher in California than Colorado. However, the cost of living is significantly lower in Colorado. Ergo, I'm "richer" in Colorado than California.
     
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  19. Archtkd

    Archtkd 3rd Black Belt

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    I have never been a big fan of Steven Lopez’s fighting style, but I don’t get the strange arguments. How is he an example of “problems” in America taekwondo and “the lack of funding for the team, or for TKD at the college level?”

    There’s no WTF competitor in the world who holds the record Lopez has, and even at 37 he remains a major force in world taekwondo, especially the -80kg and welter-weight division. Nobody gave him a free seat on the American national team. He fought and won, and he should be an inspiration to so many folk who think life has ended when they turn 30.

    To qualify for the Rio Olympic, Lopez at the Olympic trials in February, beat a much younger Terence Jennings (the under 68kg bronze medalist at the London Olympics). He then thrashed competitors from Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic and Cuba at the 2016 Pan American Olympic Qualification Tournament last weeks. Last year at the WTF World Grand Prix Series 2 - Moscow in Moscow, Lopez won bronze in -80 kg after trouncing three competitors including Tahir Gulec of Germamy, Masoud Hajizavareh of Iran and Jaysen Ishida of the U.S. Hajizavareh is currently ranked No. 5 by the WTF and Gulec is ranked No. 10. Lopez also made it tho the quarter finals of the 2015 WTF World Taekwondo Championships.

    Lopez captured gold at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and a bronze at the 2008 Olympics. He was the WTF World Taekwondo Championship welter weight gold medalist in the in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009, making him the first WTF taekwondo fighter to win five world titles.

    On the subject of funding, here links to two good articles that shed good light on what goes on at the elite levels of taekwondo and Olympis sport.

    1.
    You Won't Believe What America Spends To Win Olympic Gold In These Sports | Investing Answers

    2.
    http://cnnfn.cnn.com/2008/07/22/pf/price_glory.moneymag/index.htm
     
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  20. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 3rd Black Belt

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    I certainly wasn't questioning Steven Lopez's accomplishments. It's simply that he was a dominant player for a long time, but at 37 he isn't/shouldn't be the same player he once was. His last gold medal was in 2009? That's a long time ago. I don't mean that as a knock, either. It's only natural that he takes a step or two back.

    It's amazing that he is able to compete internationally at his age. It's so amazing, in fact, that it makes me question why we don't have younger players who can take his spot from him. Either we aren't developing enough world class players or he's just so much better than everyone else that his story is even more incredible.


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