As we gear up to watch the Summer Olympics from Columbia, SC, we'll be looking out for a familiar face in London. The only American referee for the 2012 Summer Olympics taekwondo, Master Myung Chan Kim, calls this 'famously hot' city his home.

Master Myung Chan Kim of MCKim's Taekwondo USA in Northeast Columbia has been teaching in Columbia since opening Columbia's first taekwondo studio in 1989. He has also been an International referee for 22 years. Master Kim has successfully completed the process to receive the highly coveted invitation to referee the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.

Becoming an Olympic judge is a lengthy, yet rewarding process. The first step is an invitation from the World Taekwondo Federation to attend a training camp where referees are evaluated on several criteria from speed and agility to a written test. If a referee passes the first step, they are invited to the World Championship in Korea to go through another series of tests and evaluations. The 60 judges that complete this qualifier continue to regional qualifiers held around the world. From there, only the top 30 who earn the highest evaluation continue to London. 

We're proud to have our own Master Kim complete this difficult process and stand out over 4,000 referees worldwide. He has traveled over 150,000 miles since May 2011 and paid for airline tickets out of his own pocket. The time and money are simple sacrifices Master Kim has made to reach this point of excellence.

We wish him the best and know that he will represent Columbia and the United States well. Congrats, Master Kim!

Guest blog contributed by Audrey Crawford, student and fan.