We were just remembering historic triumphs of people whose great results paved the way for countries with no tradition in the sport to achieve important triumphs at the top of the Olympus.
In this issue of Taekwondo legends we will talk about the first official Olympic gold medal in the -58 kg category, as well as the first European to win the gold medal in the official version of the Olympic Games, a Greek who made clear in his brilliant performance in Sydney, his character as a fighter.
Determination, confidence in the sparring area and a high technical level gave the Greek Michail Mouroutsos the credentials to win Greece’s first and only gold medal in Taekwondo.
Mouroutsos was 19 years old when he appeared at the Sydney Olympics in the new -58kg category, beating Egypt, Chinese Taipei, Argentina and Spain.
Nor was he a stranger, he was the reigning European champion, a title he had won in the city of Patros (Greece) in May 2000, defeating Spain’s Miguel Toledo in the final.
He also had experience in high performance, having placed second in the European pre-Olympics for the Sydney Games in Stockholm.
To give you an idea, Mouroutsos participated in the first World Youth Taekwondo Championships in Barcelona, Spain in 1996, an event from which famous Taekwondo names such as Steven Lopez emerged for the first time.
The big day.
In the first match he managed to beat his Egyptian opponent, Talaat Abada, 6-0. In the quarter-finals, he will face Chih-Hsiung Huang of Chinese Taipei, who was the overwhelming favourite for the gold medal. With more pressure, he beat Argentina’s Gabriel Taraburelli in his third fight.
In the final bout against the Spanish experiment Gabriel Esparza he would prevail 4-2.
At the Olympic Games in Sydney his main source of energy was the intelligence in every fight and the possibility to surprise his rivals with effective strategy.
Undoubtedly the most difficult was Huang Chih-Hsiung (Chinese Taipei), who was world champion in Hong Kong 1997.
His previous experience before becoming Olympic champion came from competing in international events from the youth category and his determination earned him the first place after defeating the Spanish Gabriel Esparza, an old rival.
In his distinguished resume including the gold in Sydney, the Greek Olympic champion participated in five (05) world championships, two (02) world cups, two (02) world university games, as well as achieved gold, silver and bronze medals in international open events, highlighting the open of Germany, Holland, Korea, among others.
Michail Mouroutsos participated in Athens 2004 but lost in the second bout to SALAH BAYOUMI, Tamer, who eventually won bronze in -58 kg.
Michail was an athlete who managed to participate successfully in the categories of -47 kg, -56 kg, senior 54-58 kg, -58 kg, 58-62 kg and 62-67 kg, which makes one think that he was behind more Olympic medals.
It was in the -67 kg category that he won the bronze medal at the World Military Championships in Seoul 2006.
Among the most outstanding rivals of the Olympic champion are Lee Mun Kyu (Korea), Servet Tazegul (Turkey), Oscar Salazar (Mexico), Dennis Bakker (Holland), Kang Nam Won (Kor), GHolamzadeh David (Iran), Gabriel Esparza (Spain), among others.
His main sporting achievements were achieved under the direction of coaches I Apostolos (coach), OH, Young-Su (coach), TZIDIMOPOULOS, Kostas (Headcoach).
The most important thing this champion leaves in his wake is to have created the hope that the country could dream. His achievements would be followed by more medals for Greece.
To this day, Mouroutsos still trains Taekwondo. He demonstrates in his practices his level, always making it clear without saying it, why in 2000 he was the God of Olympus in the difficult category of -58 kg.
He will be immortal in sport. Nobody will be able to change that.
Pictures: Internet Cortesy.