Olympic Stories

Steven Lopez - Taekwondo

Steven Lopez - Taekwondo

Born on November 9, 1978 in New York City, New York, USA, Steven Lopez is a 33-year-old professional taekwondo competitor who will be representing the United States of America in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. With a career spanning two decades, Lopez has witnesses plenty of ups and downs. He is no stranger to the Olympic Games, having won multiple medals since the 2000 Games in Sydney, but this year holds special meaning for Steven, as it might be his last attempt at Olympic competition.

Steven comes from a highly competitive family. He learned the craft as a child from his father and he and his siblings have been practicing, coaching and competing within the genre for a long time. Although he is 33, most experts hold Lopez in high regard and predict that he should do very well in London this summer.

Sporting Career

When Steven Lopez was only a young child, his father moved the family to Texas and started teaching taekwondo to his children in the garage. Steven was only five when he began learning the craft, and he knew right away that he could use his taekwondo skills to get ahead in life. He was a very good student, earning a place as a member of the National Honor Society at Kempner High School. By the time he burst onto the taekwondo scene in 1995, Lopez was already a very skilled competitor.

Steven’s first big competition was the Pan American Games in 1995, where he won a silver medal. It would be a few years before Lopez’s name would ring out in the taekwondo world, but he did manage to qualify for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, representing the United States. Lopez proved to be too much for the field to handle. He won a gold medal in Sydney and then followed that up the next year with a gold medal win in the World Championships.

2003 would be a tremendous year for Lopez. He would win gold in both the Pan American Games and the World Championships, setting the stage for his title defense in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Steven would again win gold at the Olympics and then again at the World Championships in 2005. Steven wasn’t alone in his title win. During the 2005 World Championships, the Lopez family made history. Steven, along with his sister Diana and brother Mark, all won gold medals in the competition and were all coached by their eldest brother Jean.

After another World Championship win in 2007, Steven was off to Beijing to see if he could bring the United States its third consecutive gold medal in taekwondo. Lopez performed very well in the competition but only managed to win a bronze medal – an impressive feat for most athletes, but disappointing for the two-time defending champion.

He would bounce back to win the World Championships again in 2009 but fell out of the scene thereafter.  In preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games, Lopez is rested and ready to compete with big hopes for success.

Career Highlights

  • 1995 Pan American Games – Silver
  • 2000 Olympic Games – Gold
  • 2001 World Championships – Gold
  • 2003 World Championships – Gold
  • 2003 Pan American Games – Gold
  • 2004 Olympic Games – Gold
  • 2005 World Championships – Gold
  • 2007 World Championships – Gold
  • 2008 Olympic Games – Bronze
  • 2009 World Championships – Gold

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