USA Taekwondo News TAEKWONDO: Pre-Event...

TAEKWONDO: Pre-Event Press Conference Quotes

Aug. 08, 2008, 12:04 p.m. (ET)

Aug. 8, 2008

Coach Jean Lopez (Sugar Land, Tex.)
Opening remarks
"We just came in from Singapore. We had a very good training camp over there. We were there for ten days and had the opportunity of acclimating. Basically the focus there is to get away from home, get down to business, and get into the mindset of winning the gold medal. This was a very successful camp. Everyone was fantastic. It was great and we can't wait to go out there and rock and roll."

On the difficulties in being a sibling and a coach...
"It's a very difficult role. It's very challenging at times, especially when it comes to competitions, usually I use my coaching voice and coaching persona at all times. When we're home and we're playing soccer or poker or all the things we do as a family, then I'm just an older brother. We kid around and make fun and play jokes like all families do."

On Lopez Lomong's selection as flag bearer...
"It never came across my mind or the team's that it was a political statement. The United States, in my view, is a country of diverse cultures. Ever since I was a little kid, I learned that it was a melting pot and a country of different places, different people and different cultures and where people can come for a better life opportunity. When I heard and we heard that Lopez was going to fly the flag, it filled my heart with joy. I couldn't think of a better person to lead."

Steven Lopez (Sugar Land, Tex.)
On experiencing the Olympics as a family and their goals...
"Going into these Olympic Games, the goal is to go out there and win gold medals. We've trained very hard and I think Mark and Diana have enough training under their belt. They're world champions in 2005 and this will be my third Olympics. In my opinion they're ready. And speaking for myself, this is my third Olympic Games and I'm excited. I've always had the support of my family and my teammates, but this Olympics is very special to us because we will be walking into that opening ceremony as a family and I think that will give us strength overall. When we walk into the ring, it's almost unfair because I feel like forty at once. And also to have my brother as a coach and when it does come down to the Olympic Games and you're down five points or you really need something, who else to trust besides your brother who knows what to say, how to say it and when to say it. My expectations are high. We'll go out there and win the gold medal."

On the pressures during the Olympic Games...
"We train very hard. I am very excited. This is my third Olympics. However, in China it has a different feel. This is the very best Olympics I have ever been to. I am very lucky to be here with my family. Taekwondo has really become a global sport. There is not one country that I can look at and say that he is an easy match for me. I can't look past China as well. The most difficult thing when you go to the Olympics game is the pressure and not so much the physical attributes that you have. It is how you mentally perform. So that when you do go out there it can be mentally difficult because it is the home-court advantage. You have to play knowing that you have to be on top of your game. China is going to be a tough one because it is the home-court advantage."

Mark Lopez (Sugar Land, Tex.)
On Lopez Lomong being selected as the U.S. flag bearer...
"We had a great opportunity to meet him at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs at our last training camp. We feel it's a great choice by the U.S. delegation to pick Lopez as the flag bearer to represent our country and to lead us at the opening ceremony. His story alone represents the epitome of the Olympic dream and something that the whole world can look at and read about and view as an inspirational story. We're really proud to follow Lopez at the opening ceremony. And he has our last name, so that makes it even better."

On how his taekwondo interest began...
"Interesting enough by chance, my father loved watching martial arts movies. It was a family ritual on Sunday mornings to watch Kung Fu Theater, to watch Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee. My father never had the chance to do martial arts. He did the best thing parents can do. He had the kids do it. There was a school around the corner and that is started. That is how we began."

Diana Lopez (Sugar Land, Tex.)
On facing the Korean team
"The Korean team is a very strong team. We've fought many times at the World Championships and different tournaments. Korea is a very good technical team. We have a great chance of winning because we're strong and we make it a fight. We don't make it a technical match. I think in order for us to win, we're just going to have to go out there and make it a fight. We're not going to leave anything out there on the mat. Everything that we learned from my brother and we're just very confident and we know that we're going to do very well."

Charlotte Craig (Murrieta, Calif.)
On how she makes herself part of the team
"They've taken me into their family. We joke around that I've been adopted by the Lopez family."