Sports

The World Taekwondo Federation was forced to change its name, thanks to the internet

By Greg Hadley

ghadley@mcclatchy.com

South Korea's Kim Jin-hee, left, kicks the face of Spain's Juan Ramos during the fin weight final of the World Cup Taekwondo 2002 in Tokyo Tuesday, July 16, 2002. Kim won the gold.
South Korea's Kim Jin-hee, left, kicks the face of Spain's Juan Ramos during the fin weight final of the World Cup Taekwondo 2002 in Tokyo Tuesday, July 16, 2002. Kim won the gold. AP

WTF, man?

The World Taekwondo Federation, the governing body of martial arts competitions around the globe founded in 1973, has officially changed its name to simply World Taekwondo, because the rise of the internet has made its initials have become associated with a more vulgar phrase.

According to Buzzfeed News, the organization’s president, Choue Chung-won, announced the change in a statement that said: “In the digital age, the acronym of our federation has developed negative connotations unrelated to our organization and so it was important that we rebranded to better engage with our fans.”

Per BBC News, the change took place just before the federation’s world championships in Muju, South Korea.

Of course, while Chung-won was delicate in his phrasing, WTF has commonly become known as shorthand for “what the f---,” a phrase commonly used on the internet to express surprise.

World Taekwondo is not the first organization that has been forced to change its name thanks to the rise of a more widely-known, less desirable acronym.

Hundreds of businesses and people scrambled to differentiate themselves from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, commonly known as ISIS, per the New York Times.

The Wisconsin Tourism Federation (also WTF) changed its name to the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin in 2009, according to Mental Floss, and Sioux City Gateway Airport was assigned the airport code “SUX.”

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