27 athletes gathered at the Olympic Training Center in the United States located at Colorado Springs, Colorado in order to compete for the four spots that will be allowed to fight with the top seeds in the divisions in which the athletes were able to get a ticket to London: Steven Lopez, Diana Lopez, Paige McPherson and Terrence Jennings.
From the 27 athletes competing, 2 of those were Olympic medalists: Mark Lopez (-68 kg) and Nia Abdallah (-67 kg). Danielle Pelham, world champion in 2009 was also one of the competitors in the -57 kg division.
Jesus Armendariz, who got third place in the -68 kg division because of his loss against Mark Lopez by a score of 3-1, commented to masTaekwondo.com that the level of competition was very high and that all of the competitors were very content with the electronic Daedo scoring system.
At the end of the competition the winners were Danielle Holmquist who will fight against Diana Lopez; TJ Curry who will have to face Steven Lopez; Nia Abdallah who will face Paige McPherson and Mark Lopez who will try to get a spot against Terrence Jennings.
The USA’s National team will be formed from these matches and the Lopez’s story from Beijing could once again take place if the three competitors can all qualify along with their brother Jean (coach) to an Olympic Games.
Another particular thing about this elimination round is that the USA National team could be composed of four Olympic medalists: Diana Lopez, Mark Lopez, Steven Lopez and Nia Abdallah. Nia earned a silver medal at the 2004 Athens, Greece Olympic Games.
Another coincidence is that if the team is composed by the 3 Lopez and Nia Abdallah, all of the participants would be Texans that live in the Houston area. However, for this to take place, they need to be successful in their matches, which will not be an easy task since the other athletes are also great competitors like Jennings and McPherson who have recently earned bronze medals at the Pan Am games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Good luck to everyone!
By Mariana and Aldo Prado for masTaekwondo Team