Steven Lopez

Taekwondo Featherweight
Pan American Games
Gold Medal 1999
World Olympics
Gold Medal
Sydney, Australia 2000

The journey to the Olympic is an arduous and often difficult one to take. Yiany hopefuls falter along the way, but some are driven to become champions. In the case of Steven Lopez, he always wanted to be an Olympic champion and was fortunate enough to have a family to support and helped him realize his dream. At age 22, Lopez is the world's best Taekwondo featherweight competitor. By caphuing the Gold Medal in Sydney, Lopez not only fulfilled his dream, he also made history by winning the very first Olympic Gold Medal for the U.S. in Taekwondo. This was tremendous accomplishment for the young Latino from Sugar land, Texas, who was an academic scholar and member of the National Honor Society at Kampner high school. On the road to Sydney, Steven Lopez competed extremely well in the numerous qualifying tournaments and garnered several medals at the 1994 World Cup Taekwondo (Bronze), 1996 Pan American Games (Gold), just to name a few. In August 1999, Winnipeg, Canada, Lopez received the Silver Medal to qualify the U.S. in the Olympic Taekwondo Featherweight Division. Additionally, Steven Lopez is a five-time U.S. National Taekwondo Team member. In an interview several months before the Olympics, Lopez comments about his experience, "This entire journey has taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to. I'm not the kind who will start something and not finish it. It doesn't matter how long it takes, because if I put my heart into it, I will get it done. That's something that I will one day take into the business world". Steven's parents, Julio and Ondina, Nicaraguan immigrants, are now considered America's First Family of Taekwondo as their children are all world class Taekwondo champions. Diana 16, won the junior World Championship in 1998 while Mark, 18, finished third. Older brother Jean, 26, took a Silver Medal in 1995. This commitment and determination is what makes Lopez an Olympic Champion. He was favored by the experts to take the gold and he did so in convincing fashion. He had a dream and achieved it, but more importantly, it is the love and support from his family which mattered to him the most.

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