Steven López

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Steven López (born November 9, 1978) is a Nicaraguan-born American taekwondo competitor, a 2000 and 2004 Olympic gold medalist (in the -68 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 2 Olympic titles, 5 titles in taekwondo world championships and 1 title in taekwondo world cup 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). [3][4]

Steven López
Steven López.jpg
López in 2011
Personal information
Born (1978-11-09) November 9, 1978 (age 43)[1]
Managua, Nicaragua
Height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)[2]
Weight185 lb (84 kg)[2]
Medal record
Men's Taekwondo
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2000 Sydney – 68 kg
Gold medal – first place 2004 Athens – 80 kg
Bronze medal – third place 2008 Beijing – 80 kg
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2001 Jeju Lightweight
Gold medal – first place 2003 Garmisch Welterweight
Gold medal – first place 2005 Madrid Welterweight
Gold medal – first place 2007 Beijing Welterweight
Gold medal – first place 2009 Copenhagen Welterweight
World Junior Championships
Gold medal – first place 1996 Barcelona Lightweight
Grand Prix
Silver medal – second place 2014 Astana Welterweight
Bronze medal – third place 2015 Moscow Welterweight
Pan American Games
Gold medal – first place 1999 Winnipeg – 68 kg
Gold medal – first place 2003 Santo Domingo – 80 kg
Bronze medal – third place 2015 Toronto – 80 kg
Pan American Championships
Silver medal – second place 1994 Heredia – 54kg
Gold medal – first place 1996 Havana – 63kg
Gold medal – first place 1998 Lima – 63kg
López (right) with his 2000 Olympics gold medal


Born in Nicaragua, Lopez moved with his parents to New York City in 1982.[5] 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.[6] López first learned the sport of Taekwondo in his garage at the age of five from his father and Jean, his older brother.[7] 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.[1] 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.[8] 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.[8]

López has appeared in People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People.[8] In 2012, he participated in Fox's dating game show The Choice.[9]

López is a Roman Catholic who attends St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Texas, and has said his faith has always been a very important part of his life.[10]

Allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assaultEdit

On June 8, 2017, USA Today published a news items stating that López had been accused of sexual assault by various female athletes.[11] The accusations presented a repeated pattern of behavior of abuse allegedly perpetrated by López and his brother, Jean Lopez. As of 2020, López and his brother have a preliminary suspension in place enacted by USA Taekwondo which effectively bars them from competing in international Taekwondo competitions.[12]

Career highlightsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Steven Lopez". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Steven Lopez". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  3. ^ name="HB">"Steven López Prepares to Defend Gold Medal at 2004 Olympic Games in Athens". Retrieved 2008-05-03.
  4. ^ "TaekwondoData". TaekwondoData.
  5. ^ "Steven Lopez". Team USA. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  6. ^ Times, Washington (2004-07-02). "Lopez and family get their kicks". Washington Times. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  7. ^ "Steven López Prepares to Defend Gold Medal at 2004 Olympic Games in Athens". Retrieved 2008-05-03.
  8. ^ a b c "NBC Olympics profile". Retrieved 2008-05-03.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Ramos, James (August 8, 2016). "Taekwondo fighter and immigrants' son fueled by faith at Olympics". Crux. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  11. ^ Axon, Nancy Armour, and Rachel. "Lopez brothers, Olympic taekwondo royalty, hit with sex abuse allegations". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  12. ^ Axon, Nancy Armour and Rachel. "Report: Sixth woman says she was sexually abused by Olympic taekwondo champ Steven Lopez". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2021-07-23.

External linksEdit