Olympics All in the Family for the Lopezes
Taekwondo is a family affair for Steven, Mark and Diana Lopez, and their big-brother coach
It took his brothers and sister getting into the act for taekwondo double gold medalist Steven Lopez to have his parents witness him in action.
“Finally, right?” jokes 29-year-old Lopez, one of PEOPLE s hottest bachelors in 2004, on the eve of competition in Beijing.
Having been in the Sydney and Athens games, Steven is now being joined by his younger siblings Mark and Diana, both also qualifying in the Korean martial art of taekwondo – and all of them coached by big brother Jean.
All he more reason for mother Ondina and father Julio Lopez to be on hand.
“I can only imagine having four children and having them all on one Olympic team and having them all march in the opening ceremony with the U.S. delegation,” Steven tells PEOPLE.
“It gives me a great sense of pride to have them see their hard work is finally paying off. My parents were at the opening ceremony, and they had really good seats!”
In the parade of nations, brother Mark was busy documenting his first-time experience rather than concentrating on moving forward.
“I had a video camera and a regular camera,” says Mark Lopez, 26. “I was talking with Jason Kidd, LeBron James and Kobe [Bryant], and we were walking with them the whole time. It’s been amazing.”
The last time three siblings competed on the same Olympic team was more than 100 years ago, in 1904.
Coach Jean Lopez, for one, hopes more families get inspired to aim for the Games by watching the Lopezes in action – Mark and Diana on Thursday, and Steven on Friday.
“I hope people think, if they can do it, we can do it,” says Jean, 34. “You can enjoy doing things together as a family. She doesn’t have to do baseball and him football and him ballet – you know, we collectively as a family can do something as a family.
“If it wasn’t really for [taekwondo], I don’t think we would have the bond we have.”