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Making The Olympics A Family Affair

  • Roger Hsu

The sport of Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that is similar to karate. One family from the United States is hoping to demonstrate its mastery of the sport by bringing home three gold medals from the Beijing Olympics in August. . For producer Roger Hsu, Elaine Lu has more on Diana, Mark, Jean and Steve Lopez, the first family of Taekwondo.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Steven Lopez can only watch on the sidelines as his brother and sister battle to join him on the U.S. Olympic team.

"After 2004 Olympic games, I have a new dream, that's to make the Olympic team with Diana, my younger brother Mark and having Jean as my coach," Steven said.

Diana and Mark are Steven's younger sister and brother.

"I have my brother who reminds me everyday [you] train with Olympic gold medalist and world champion," Diana said.

"Even after winning two Olympic gold medals he's training in there like it's his first day,” Mark said. “I really take a lot of pride in knowing that my brother is the greatest. I look at him and I want to do what he does, and even surpass what he's done in the past."

The three are hoping to repeat their shared success from the 2005 Taekwondo World Championship where they became the first trio of siblings to win world titles. Their older brother Jean is their coach

"It was difficult at times, but now it's who else to have except your brother to tell you what to do in those high pressure situations like the Olympic games and know that you can trust him wholeheartedly," Stephen explained.

"So going into 2008, the bar is set high, for him to go in there and give his best performance,” Coach Jean said. “Not just to win, but also to perform at his highest ability."

Steven secured his play in the Olympics last year. Today, his sister and brother are trying to join him.

Mark Lopez won the men's featherweight spot on the Olympic team by defeating his friend and training partner Chris Martinez three to two.

Diana Lopez's final obstacle to joining her brothers on the team was Nia Abdallah, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist. Diana lost her Olympic spot to Abdallah in 2004.

With just 29 seconds left in the sudden-death overtime, Diana beat her rival one to nothing. Her brothers, Steven and Jean, shared her excitement.

"I am ecstatic right now, it's just surreal, history in the making, and I am just very proud to be part of it," Steven said.

"Not too many times in our life can we honestly say that everything is perfect, right now everything is perfect," Jean said.

The Lopez family has made history, becoming the first trio of siblings on the U.S. Olympic team in more than a century. While they are excited to represent their country in Beijing, Mark Lopez says it is all about family.

"When we are at home with each other, with my parents, it's just a normal everyday situation,” Mark said. “But now we are here at the media summit, in front of all these cameras and all these people interviewing us, we really sit down and appreciate this moment, and realize the history we are making, the history we created and that we are going to create when we compete at the Olympic games. We just thank God for the opportunity and we are just really happy that we can make our parents proud."


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