With a new roster of athletes set to represent the United States and a new format designed to create more exciting matches, the last three years have brought plenty of change to the world of Olympic taekwondo.

Below are some of the biggest storylines from the sport that will have an impact on the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games.

CJ Nickolas becomes Team USA's top medal hopeful

After having no men qualify for the Olympic taekwondo team in Tokyo, the United States now has a strong medal contender in time for the Paris Games. CJ Nickolas, who turns 23 shortly before the Olympics, established himself as a rising star after earning a silver medal at the 2023 World Championships. It marked the first time an American man won a medal of any color at a world championship since 2009.

Nickolas ended the Olympic qualification period ranked No. 2 in the men's 80kg (176 lbs.) division. His chief competition for Paris includes Italy's Simone Alessio, who defeated Nickolas to win last year's world title and sits No. 1 in the rankings.

Team USA's reigning Olympic champion missing out

When Anastasija Zolotic became the first U.S. woman to win Olympic taekwondo gold at just 18 years old, it looked to be the start of something big. But Zolotic barely had time to relish her new title as Olympic champion before suffering a serious injury to her patella that kept her away from training for more than six months. She was also sidelined by hip surgery in February 2023.

Upon her return from hip surgery, Zolotic began competing in the 67kg (148 lbs.) weight class, a move up from the 57kg (126 lbs.) class she was in at the last Olympics. But her Paris 2024 bid came to an end in January when she lost to 18-year-old Kristina Teachout at U.S. Olympic Trials. Teachout later qualified the weight class for the Olympics via a continental qualification tournament.

As for Zolotic's previous Olympic spot in the 57kg class, that will be filled by Faith Dillon. In another notable result from Trials, Dillon defeated Makayla Greenwood, the 2022 world champion in a non-Olympic weight class. Like Teachout, Dillon — who will be 22 during the Paris Games — has officially qualified the weight class since then.

Competition rules get tweaked for 2024 Olympics

Ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics, World Taekwondo has adopted new competition rules. Most notably, matches will still be three rounds, but instead of cumulative scoring, a best-of-three format will be used. The score resets at the start of each round, and athletes must win two of the three rounds to win the match. As a result, the sudden-death overtime "golden point round" has been eliminated. (For more details, check out our article on Olympic taekwondo rules.)

According to World Taekwondo officials, the format change is designed to create more action from start to finish and prevent stalling tactics.