Objective: The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between the color protectors and success in 1,327 taekwondo matches from six World Grand Prix Series (WGPS) of two 4-year Olympic periods when electronic body and head protectors are used.
Due to the further introduction of the electronic helmets, the number of wins in these competitions by athletes in blue should be, throughout an entire edition, similar to (or the same as) the number of wins scored by athletes in red uniforms.
In addition, it will also be analyzed the confounding effect of a competitor being a seeded athlete; the hypothesis is that the fact of being the seeded athletes, if a color effect should occur, would not explain a higher percentage of victories of one color than the other, as the WT has introduced the qualification system for the Olympic Games through world ranking after the London 2012 Olympics and the WGPS are the closed-numbered event introduced in 2013 in which the top 31 athletes of the world ranking and 1 athlete from the host country of the edition per weight category take part.
Results: In the total sample, the results did not show a relationship between the match outcome and the color of the protectors (p = 0.97, C = 0.001). For the individual six editions, the results showed a positive and strong relationship between wearing blue protectors and winning matches and one between wearing red protectors and winning matches (p = 0.001, C = 0.19; p = 0.001; C = 0.19).
Regarding the weight categories, 8 and 5 of 48 showed higher percentages of blue and red winners, respectively.
Regarding sex, male competitors showed a positive relationship between blue color and winning the match in 6 of 24 weight categories, and wearing red and winning the match was shown in 2 of 24 weight categories.
Female competitors showed a positive relationship between blue color and winning the match in 2 of 24 weight categories, and wearing red and winning the match was shown in 3 of 24 weight categories.
When it comes to the influence of being a seeded athlete, the results did show a significant confounding effect on the color of the protectors worn by the winner of the match in 2 of 13 weight categories in which a color effect was observed (p = 0.02, C = 0.28; p = 0.02, C = 0.28).
Conclusions: Our study suggests that the objectification of the scoring system, with the introduction of electronic protections for all areas where scoring is allowed in the taekwondo matches, allows for more fair or equal competition.
Therefore, the electronic scoring system seems to be a good tool to decrease the advantage of referees toward the red wearer in winning matches. Finally, being a seeded athlete did not emerge as a predictive factor for winning the match in WGPS; the difficulty in discriminating between seeded and nonseeded athletes equalizes the athletes who participate in the WGPS, confirming the very purpose of the competition.
Gennaro Apollaro and Coral Falcó.