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Coach Patrice Remarck behind 3 taekwondo Olympians

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May 5, 2012: Taekwondo coach Patrice Remarck posing for a photograph during the European Taekwondo Championships, at the Manchester Regional Arena, Manchester, England. (AP)

When the taekwondo events kick off at the London Olympics, coach Patrice Remarck will have to multitask.

The Ivory Coast native and former taekwondo champion has at least three athletes from three countries competing in the games. Although Remarck's taekwondo school is in Alexandria, Virginia, he is also training fighters from Britain, Mali and Senegal.

"It will be very busy in London," Remarck said from Manchester, where he is working with Aaron Cook, his possible fourth London Games athlete.

The top-ranked fighter is currently embroiled in a fight with British Olympic officials after they denied him a spot on the team, an omission Remarck labeled a "disgrace." Cook is considering legal action to get to the Olympics and is still training hard.

Aside from Cook, Remarck has trained American taekwondo fighter Terrence Jennings and is also coaching two-time world champion Daba Modibo Keita of Mali and first-time Olympian Benita Diedhiou of Senegal. None of them are fighting in the same division, so at least Remarck won't have to worry about divided loyalties.

"I have a system and it works," Remarck said of why he has fighters from around the world clamoring to be coached by him. "I train seven days a week and I'm very demanding."

Remarck studied physics at Howard University and said he's applied scientific principles to his attacking style of taekwondo.

"You have to understand the mechanics of the kicking techniques and get the right angles to make them more powerful," said the 50-year-old Remarck, who was born in the Ivory Coast and moved to the United States in 1983 to attend college.

African fighters Keita and Diedhiou receive funding from the International Olympic Committee to train abroad and specifically picked Remarck, whose academy is the only one in the United States recognized by the IOC as a "High Performance Training Center."

Even athletes in countries with elite training programs have chosen Remarck. The top-ranked Cook ditched the national British taekwondo academy last year after a string of disappointing results. Cook's parents hired Remarck and others to train their son; he has now won nine of his last 12 competitions.

When Remarck is in Britain, he stays in the Cook family's spare room so the two can train as long as necessary, often in the backyard gym Cook's parents built. Cook said his abandonment of the British program irked local officials, who are punishing him by excluding him from the Olympic team.

Though Remarck won't be coaching Jennings at the London Games -- he will be coached by one of the American team coaches -- Jennings credits Remarck with much of his success.

"He taught me everything I know about taekwondo," Jennings said, adding he considers Remarck "like a second father."

Jennings said Remarck's coaching at the first U.S. Olympic qualifiers in 2010 was key to his landing a spot on the team. Jennings' fight went into overtime and Remarck predicted his rival would try to punch for the winning point.

"He told me to use a side kick to get in underneath that punch, and it worked," Jennings said of his victory.

Remarck's wife, Danielle, is also a taekwondo instructor at his academy, and they have a 3-year-old son who started the martial art at age 2. Danielle said she sometimes spars with her husband, but joked that he lets her win, "or else he wouldn't find dinner on the table that night."

Remarck acknowledged missing the adrenalin rush of taekwondo sparring, but wasn't sure he would be up for a real fight against one of his athletes.

"They are much younger than me and they have been training very hard with a good coach," Remarck said. "They could really hurt someone."