America’s ‘Mr. Taekwondo’ passes first Rio test

America’s ‘Mr. Taekwondo’ passes first Rio test

World Newspapers

RIO DE JANEIRO: American taekwondo veteran Steven Lopez overcame pre-fight nerves to keep his dream
of becoming the ancient Korean combat sport’s oldest Olympic champion alive in Rio on Friday (World Newspapers).

The 13th seed, champion in Athens and Sydney, shrugged off his 37-years to see off Russian fourth seed Albert
Gaun in the first round and avoid the fate that befell him four years ago.

In London 2012 he crashed out in his first fight, only disclosing later that his preparations
had been hampered by a broken foot.

“The only thing I’ve asked God is to give me my health and to be able to go out there and perform at my best,” Lopez said after the early morning win at Rio’s Carioca Arena in the Barra Olympic Park.

Despite competing at his fifth Games – he picked up bronze in Beijing to add to his 2000 and 2004 titles – the Nicaragua-born star admitted to suffering pre-fight butterflies in his stomach.

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