Bianca Cook Disappointed Over Olympic Omission, Calls for Fight-Off Opportunity

Bianca Cook Expresses Disappointment Over Olympic Omission

Three-time world taekwondo champion Bianca Cook has voiced her disappointment after being left out of Team GB’s Olympic line-up for Paris 2024. Cook, who won bronze at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, feels “let down” by the decision and believes she deserved a chance to compete for her spot against the selected athlete, Rebecca McGowan.

GB Taekwondo chose McGowan, a two-time world medallist, citing her higher ranking at the end of the Olympic qualification period. Cook, previously world number one for seven years until mid-2023, missed several events due to injury but claims she is now fully fit and ready to compete.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Cook expressed her frustration over the lack of a fight-off opportunity. “I didn’t expect to just be selected; I wanted to earn that place. After dominating for so many years, I thought I deserved a fight-off,” she said. Cook emphasized that Paris 2024 was intended to be her final Olympics and believed she had a strong chance of winning gold.

The situation echoes a similar controversy from 2012 when Cook’s husband, Aaron Cook, was overlooked for selection despite being world number one, with Lutalo Muhammad taking his place and winning bronze.

GB Taekwondo responded, stating that the selection panel felt confident in McGowan’s ability to win medals for Team GB without needing a fight-off. “The Olympic Selection Panel felt confident that Rebecca McGowan was in a better position than Bianca Cook to contribute to winning the best set of medals for Team GB,” they said.

Despite her disappointment, Cook remains supportive of the British team and wishes McGowan success at the Olympics. “It’s not a personal matter with an individual; it’s the situation,” she said. Cook, who will be part of BBC Sport’s Paris 2024 taekwondo coverage, added, “I wish her [McGowan] all the best at the Olympics and genuinely hope Team GB Taekwondo go out there and absolutely smash it.”

Although Cook will be 36 by the next Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028 and has no plans to continue competing for another four years, she hasn’t entirely ruled out a return. “You know I love a World Championships, so I’ll never say never,” she said, indicating that she needs time to process the current situation.

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