Olympics 2012: Lopez siblings 1st family of Tae Kwon Do

Olympics 2012: Lopez siblings 1st family of Tae Kwon Do
Lopez Family Photo/ Getty Images, By Kristian Dowling

For Steve and Diana Lopez, the Olympics is all about family.

The brother and sister are both competing in Tae Kwon Do in London.

“Since we were little, they have instilled the values that a lot of Hispanic families have, that the most important thing is that the family comes first, before anything. I think that this family unity has been the great secret of our success,” Diana, 28, told La Raza newspaper of Chicago.

The children of Nicaraguan immigrants, they grew up in Texas. An older brother Jean is their coach and another brother, Mark, also competes in Tae Kwon Do but he didn't make it to the Olympics this time.

They already are champions. Steven, 33,  won two Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004 and has three world championships. Diana won a bronze medal in Beijing in 2008. Brother Mark is an Olympic silver medalist and a world champion.

Diana will compete in London Thursday at 9 a.m. Central time and Steven Friday at 9:15 a.m. Central time.

Some have called them the "first family" of Tae Kwon Do.

"I think it really is a little odd," Steven told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "You have this Hispanic family from the United States doing a Korean sport and being the best at it. It is a little strange."

But they are proud of their Hispanic heritage and want to be role models.

Steven recalled watching Latino boxer Oscar de la Hoya win the gold medal in Barcelona.

“Watching an athlete with my skin color kissing a gold medal was really important to me because I could identify with him," he he told La Raza newspaper. "At that moment, I remember that I cried with pride and I realized that you can achieve your dreams if you put your mind to it.”

Hopefully this week they will take home gold.

Filed under: Hispanic, Olympics 2012, sports


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