The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) is the International Federation (IF) member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the competition events of the martial art of Taekwondo. International Federations (IFs) are international non-governmental organisations recognised by the IOC as administering one or more sports at world level. USA Taekwondo is the national governing body (NGB) of Taekwondo for the United States Olympic Committee and as such is the official Member National Association (MNA) of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) in the USA.
The WTF was established in South Korea on May 28, 1973, at its inaugural meeting held at the Kukkiwon with participation of 35 representatives from the world. The current president is Chungwon Choue, who was elected for a four-year term in 2005. The WTF, which only governs the function of Taekwondo competitions and related support services, should not be confused with the World Taekwondo Headquarters, also known as Kukkiwon, which is a center of learning and research of Taekwondo located in Yuksam Dong, a different part of Seoul. Former WTF president Kim Un-Yong successfully lobbied to include Taekwondo sparring competition as a demonstration sport in the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics, and official Full Medal Olympic sport beginning in 2000.
According to the WTF, "Taekwondo is one of the most systematic and scientific Korean traditional martial arts, that teaches more than physical fighting skills. It is a discipline that shows ways of enhancing our spirit and life through training our body and mind. Today, it has become a global sport that has gained an international reputation, and stands among the official games in the Olympics."
The organizational structure of the WTF has diversified at various times over its more than 30 year history to incorporate the various changes, affiliations and associations over these years of growth. As of 2011 the organization is headed up by a General Assembly made up from members of the 200 member National Associations from the five world regions it represents. This in turn consists of a WTF Council composed of an Executive Committee and various sub committees. The Executive Committee comprises a president, secretariat, and an Advisory Council. The sub committees are made up of various departments within the organization, including a technical committee and representative committees of games, women's, legislative, financial, medical, athletic and PR areas.
The WTF has often been seen as a world sports federation since its founding in 1973 and later membership in the GASIF and the selection of the International Federation, or IF of Taekwondo under the IOC. The WTF was presided over by former I.O.C Vice President Un Yong Kim, from its inception in 1973 until 2004. Kim was also the president of the Korea Taekwondo Association, Kukkiwon, the Korea Sports Association and President of the GASIF, the main pillar of the Olympic movement. The Current President of the WTF is Chung Won Chou.