Various Korean forms of martial arts have existed but in the early 20th century, Taekwondo became the dominant form. In 1955 a group of Korean martial arts leaders chose Taekwondo as the definitive Korean martial art in an attempt to promote its development internationally.
In 1973, the Korean government recognised the World Taekwondo Federation (W.T.F.) as the legitimate governing body of the sport, and the first World Championships were held in that year.
Taekwondo was featured on the program of the 1988 and 1992 Olympics as a demonstration sport. At the 103rd IOC Session, held in Paris in 1994, Taekwondo became an official medal sport beginning with the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. During those Games, 103 athletes - 55 men and 48 women - from 51 countries took part in the Taekwondo competition.