Taekwondo is returning to the Olympics for its sixth time on the program as an official medal sport. Though some of the top taekwondoins in the world are moving on from Olympic competition, numerous key figures in the sport are expected to return for Tokyo while many newcomers look to make their mark on the Games.
British taekwondoin Jade Jones will be returning to the Olympics for her third tour, and she'll also be looking to make history. After winning taekwondo gold medals in London and in Rio, the 28-year-old could become the first taekwondoin in Olympic history -- male or female -- to win three gold medals. China's Wu Jingyu is also chasing history as the first Olympian to win three taekwondo gold medals. The 34-year-old won gold as a flyweight at the Beijing and London Games, but did not win a medal in Rio.
For the United States, Paige McPherson will head to Rio looking to add another medal to her resume. McPherson won a bronze medal at the London Games in 2012, but lost in the first round in Rio. "McFierce" will certainly be aiming for redemption this time around.
For the first time since taekwondo became a full-time medal sport at the Olympics, the United States will be without legendary fighter Steven Lopez. The 42-year-old is by far the most decorated taekwondo athlete to ever represent the United States, and only two other Olympians have earned as many medals as he has in his five Olympic appearances. The two-time gold medalist leaves a void that will be spectacularly difficult for the United States to fill.
South Korea will also be without one of their top taekwondoins this year. Cha Dong-Min, who won a gold medal in 2008 and a bronze in 2016, announced his retirement after the Rio Games.
New Faces to Watch
One name to keep an eye on is United States taekwondoin Anastasija Zolotic. Zolotic, just 18 years old, won gold at the 2018 World Taekwondo Junior Championships. She also won a silver medal at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics. Zolotic is a rising star in the sport and could become the face of USA Taekwondo in the very near future.