López in 2011
November 9, 1978|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (191 cm)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
Steven López (born November 9, 1978) is a 2000 and 2004 Olympic gold medalist (in the -60 and -80 kg divisions respectively) and a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist (again in the -80 kg division) and 4th Dan in taekwondo. In 2001, he won the Lightweight Taekwondo World Championship, and in 2003 he won the Welterweight Taekwondo World Championship which he has since won in 2005, 2007 and 2009 making him the first Taekwondo fighter to win 5 World Championships. With two olympic gold medals (2000 and 2004), five titles in taekwondo world championships and one in taekwondo world cup (eight world class titles), he is the most titled champion after Hadi Saei who earns 9 world class titles (two olympic titles in 2004 and 2008, two world championships titles, four world cup titles and one world olympic qualification tournament). Lopez attended 2016 Summer Olympics, at the age of 37, and did well, but lost in the fight for a shared bronze medal. Lopez never managed to really adapt to the new point rules in taekwondo. He will nevertheless stand out as one of the best competition athletes in his time.
Born in Nicaragua, Lopez's parents moved to New York City in 1972. In his native country, his father, Julio, worked for the dictator Anastasio Somoza, who was overthrown in 1979 after the Sandinista Revolution. His father took odd jobs to support his family but later relocated to Texas. López first learned the sport of Taekwondo in his garage at the age of five from his father and Jean, his older brother. He is a 1997 graduate of Kempner High School in Sugar Land, Texas where he was voted "most likely to succeed" and was member of the National Honor Society.
López's siblings, Mark, Diana and Jean Lopez (coach) are all USA National Team Members in Taekwondo. His younger siblings, Mark and Diana, also represented the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, marking the first time since 1904 that three siblings have been on the same Olympic team. Both López and siblings, Mark (men's featherweight) and Diana (women's featherweight), made sports history in April 2005 when they all claimed a world championship title at the same event (2005 World Taekwondo Championships) with their oldest brother, Jean, participating in the feat as their coach. Steven Lopez and Diana Lopez both qualified for the 2012 Olympic games in London in July 2012 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.
On January 2006, López tested positive for a banned substance (L-methamphetamine) which he said came from an over-the-counter vapor inhaler he used. López promptly accepted a three-month suspension and participated in an educational anti-doping program.
Sexual misconduct allegations
Both López and his older brother Jean have been investigated by the U.S. Center for SafeSport regarding allegations of sexual misconduct. In April 2018, Jean was issued a lifetime ban from all World Taekwondo events due to his investigation, while López's investigation is ongoing.
On April 25, 2018, the Houston Chronicle reported both brothers are the subject of separate lawsuits filed in Colorado of sexual misconduct involving two female taekwondo athletes. Amber Means Randall says in her lawsuit that López assaulted and harassed her beginning when she was 17 years old, and that López engaged in sexual activities with underage athletes at various international tournaments. The lawsuit also alleges that López raped Randall while she was unconscious at a friend's party in 2008.
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- "Steven Lopez". teamusa.org. United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "Steven López Prepares to Defend Gold Medal at 2004 Olympic Games in Athens". HispanicBusiness.com. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- "Steven Lopez". Team USA. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
- Times, Washington (2004-07-02). "Lopez and family get their kicks". Washington Times. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
- "NBC Olympics profile". nbcolympics.com. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- Hibberd, James (May 8, 2012). "Fox's 'The Choice' cast revealed! Joe Jonas, Dean Cain, The Situation, many more -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- Ramos, James (August 8, 2016). "Taekwondo fighter and immigrants' son fueled by faith at Olympics". Crux. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
- Barron, David (April 26, 2018). "Lawsuits accuse Lopez brothers of sexual misconduct". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 26, 2018.