With marketing, matches are not always won

Danish Frederik Emil Olsen, who could be described as the most promoted kid in Taekwondo since he was seven, (today he is twelve) had the opportunity to compete in the last world cadet championships and fought against competitive rivals; unfortunately he did not pass the first round. ESPAÑOL

Frederik Olsen


Four years ago published an article that had media impact  titled:  “Frederik Olsen, a Taekwondo prodigy?” in which we talked about the sports specialization at a young age.

By that time, Frederik had been training for two years (he started when he was five) and his family and coach began promoting him as the future World and Olympic Champion; in fact, today his Facebook profile shows him as a eleven-year old boy who dreams of success in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games, and informes he has won 130 medals so far. published two articles related to this topic, the one that we mentioned before and another one entitled “Parents and their support in sports education of their children” In both cases, it is strongly emphasized that when parents are involved in their children’s sport career, they often tend to place great emphasis on winning the first place, the  trophies, aggressive and assertive training procedures; i.e. when children practice sports as adults, forgetting that a kid, like Frederik, wants to have fun, play and doesn´t  focus participating in the Olympic Games in ten years.

When we saw Frederik Emil Olsen fight against kids his age four years ago, we noticed an extreme technical superiority over his smaller rivals and many said: “No one can stop this kid, he is a Prodigy, a machine, a unique kid…”

Late last month, the 1st WTF Cadet World Taekwondo Championships was held and Frederik had to face rivals with a higher competitive level than the rivals he had faced before (those who helped him gather 130 medals for him)  and he could not pass the first round, losing against the kid from  Kazakhstan by 9-5.

It is likely that for this Danish kid, participating in the world championship was fun and we understand that winning or losing at that age should be taken as a simple anecdotal fact, but oddly in his Facebook profile we found an analysis (supposedly written by him) in which he listed the reasons why he lost.  But what called out attention was a shocking phrase: “I´m sorry  I disappointed you this time…”; don´t forget  this is just an eleven-year old boy who is speaking about “disappointing others”, and secondly we have to think that whoever feels real disappointment is whoever wrote in his name and not the kid himself. How healthy is such marketing on a kid who should be enjoying his childhood and having fun instead of facing a reality he still doesn´t know? How healthy could it be to make him feel he is a “Super Boy”?

When a child is very talented and trains many hours every day as per his coach´s instructions, he surely will have a higher technical and competitive level  compared with the kids his age.   In some cases, as time goes by, the  other kids grow, mature and achieve the agility, the speed of execution and skills the “Prodigy kid” has shown.  In many cases the other kids may surprisingly overpass the “Prodigy kid”.  It is just a matter of reaching maturity.

This article was not written with the intention of criticizing little Frederik, since he seems a great friendly talented kid, but we want to  warn parents and coaches who exert negative “pressure” to their children, wanting to turn them into the champions they could not become.




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2 thoughts on “With marketing, matches are not always won”

  1. I’m actually speechless. How can a media like MasTaekwondo write an article like this WITHOUT even have spoken to the 11 year old kid, his coach , his parents, teammates or just people close to him who actually knows him.
    I really dont hope people will take you seriously, when you write and publish an article with so many assumes !!????
    First of all – know the real story about Frederik otherwise you could had asked for an interview….. But I guess this is better reading though the truth is so far from this.

    Frederik has a lot of fans all over the world because he has inspired other kids in TKD and because he is an outgoing, smiling and polite kid who is bounding with everybody.

    Frederik has never get anything out of this ” marketing ” as you call it…. Not received a single dollar from any firm or companies. No sponsoring at all.

    When he was 9 years old he changed club and coach because we want him to get more focus about development instead of results. This was a decision I as his mom took, specially because I wanted to take all the pressure and hype away from him.
    Again….know the story before you judge me or others like bad pacing parents ;-).

    The last 2 years Frederik prepared himself for his own long term goal the Olympics 2020/2024, which he actually has as a dream like 1000 of other kids. Why can’t kids have such a goal after your opinion? . This year is his first year as cadet and we ( his Coach and I) had prepared Frederik that the World Championship would be really tough cause the fact that he didn’t really fit his division ( too low weight) and also that 31 out of 36 competitors in his division was born in 2000 and 14 years old and Frederik is not even 12 yet.
    Frederik was aware of that and that he was just there for learning which he did.
    To write this dramatic article about an 11 year old kid and judge him and anybody who is working with him is ridiculous ….. Frederik is a smart kid who is having fun with TKD and have plenty of times to be a kid.
    Maybe his lost came as a shock for MasTaekwondo but not for us close to him. I guess if you really want to make a good story then maybe write about how kids at 14 years old dropped weigh 8-9 kg fit the – 33 kg division at the World Championship. I was actually a proud parent cause my kid was one of the only one standing in the line for the weigh in, and still was able to smile and communicate. Some kids was actually crying and passing out !!!All this for a medal…. See that is bad judgement and maybe a better story than this.
    Frederik is now as a cadet not competing so many competitions a year. This is important for the team behind him, that he keep focusing for development and not just medals. That doesn’t mean that he is no longer winning. This year as 11 year old he has won 3 gold and 1 bronze at G- class tournaments so far including US OPEN where he also was awarded as best cadet male.

    We just no longer put him into every tournament we are invited for.

    I lost my respect for MasTaekwondo. I’ve always been a fan of you guys, but honestly I’m really diss appointed that you make up such a story without getting you facts right and then about a little boy at only 11 years old. If you want to put spot on about bad parents you could have write it without mentioned Frederik, specially because I know if you had to talked to me before, you wouldn’t have written this article.

    But again let your haters be your motivators and when I asked my still 11 year old son if he had seen the article, he replied. Yes , but honestly mom. ” I don’t care about MasTaekwondo, They obviously don’t know how things are and I couldn’t care less” I have learned a lot recently. I have never been afraid of disappointing you or my coach Niklas because you guys are always there for me and keep me focus on my long term goals instead of one Championship.”
    Next time do your research before creating an article about a 11 year old kid. I think you owe him an apologize . He is still a huge inspiration for many kids because of his skills but specially because of his personality and behavior. Always letting small fans having a picture with him even when he just have lost or warming up. That is good sportsmanship – this is your article not a sign of.

  2. I think it is great that you take up this theme, as it has been discussed for years. There are many many talented kids around the globe, some of them have parents who have the money, the time and – in some cases – an extreme craving for attention and some do not. What is equal for all of them is – as you state – that we cannot know what will happen in the future, especially when the teen years set in. I have seen so many different cases of this for the past 26 years and I really hope for all of the future ones that they have coaches, parents, advisors or the like to guide them through this. It is a well-known fact that many elite sportsmen- and women go through an identity crisis when they stop competing at a high level. I think it is a lot harder and that there are many more factors to this when dealing with children, a lot can and will happen in the years before they grow up, so please keep focus on this.
    Thank you for a great article (Y)

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