When we first heard that world No. 1 taekwondo fighter Aaron Cook was disgruntled after being left off Team GB’s London squad, allegedly out of spite, we wrote him an open letter inviting him to come compete for USA’s red, white, and blue.
Now that might actually be an option.
“In three years I may be under a different flag,” Cook told the BBC Monday. “My dream is to win an Olympic gold in Rio for Team GB, but it’s going to be extremely difficult for me to move forward after everything that’s happened.”
Cook decided to leave he Team GB academy in 2011 to instead hire independent coaches after a poor showing at Worlds. In perceived retaliation, the British team then chose 103rd-ranked fighter, Lutalo Muhammad, to take his place. Cook eventually lost three very public appeals with the Team GB’s board and the World Taekwondo Federation.
His talented replacement, Muhammad, ended up winning bronze in London, somewhat vindicating the decision. But the scars still remain for Cook and four years may not be enough time to heal.
“I’m world number one, I’m reigning European champion, I’ve beaten the guy who they selected in front of me and the Olympic gold and silver medalists this year,” Cook said. “I should have been at that Olympics.”
He then added that he felt the decision was person and that if the people responsible don’t resign or get fired then he and his team will realistically look at competing for another nation in 2016.
So I reiterate: Aaron, come fight for Team USA. We love a winner.