Tae kwon do coach
not reinstated

Dae Sung Lee did not prove he was
discriminated against, a judge says

U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway has denied ousted U.S. Olympic tae kwon do coach Dae Sung Lee's request to be reinstated for the 2004 Olympic Games.

Lee alleged that he was removed because of his Korean ancestry rather than his performance as a coach, but the U.S. Taekwondo Union and the U.S. Olympic Committee did not discriminate against him, Mollway wrote in a ruling yesterday.

Lee was unable to show that the two groups discriminated, she ruled.

He alleged the Olympic coaching selection criteria were improperly changed, and he was replaced in April by Jean Lopez.

However, the Olympic committee and Taekwondo Union showed they had legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for changing the criteria to improve their chances of earning medals based on the athletes' relationship with their coach, according to Mollway's ruling.

The two members of the Olympic tae kwon do team, Steven Lopez and Nia Abdallah, testified yesterday that Lee's presence would be a distraction; however, Mollway said their views were not crucial to her decision. Jean and Steven Lopez are brothers.

Lee had asked the court to be reinstated as head coach or to force the U.S. Taekwondo team to have two credential coaches, but the court said it has no power to order the Olympic organizers to do so.

Lee, founder and master teacher at the U.S. Taekwondo Center in Aina Haina, filed the lawsuit two weeks before yesterday's opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

Lee and his attorney could not be reached for comment last night.



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