The most decorated athlete in Taekwondo and Ask, Listen, Learn Superstar Steven Lopez took a break from his intense training schedule for the Games to sit down for a quick chat with the Ask, Listen, Learn team! What advice did he have for us? Keep reading and see for yourself!
Q: Steven, you are an amazing athlete and a fierce competitor. When fans of the sport hear the word “Taekwondo,” you are the guy that immediately comes to mind. You've earned three Olympic medals and five World Championships. What's your secret?
Well, thanks! I appreciate that. So, what's my secret? I would say my secret has always been my family. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by my brothers and sister, who also just so happen to be Taekwondo Olympians, and they have been the most positive, powerful influence on my life and my career. They keep me motivated, and they constantly inspire me and push me to become a better athlete, competitor and person. Any success I have seen in Taekwondo, I credit to the close relationship I have with them and the strong presence they have in my life.
Q: Taekwondo has been a big part of your life since you were a kid. Since the beginning of your career in the sport, what is the most important quality Taekwondo has taught you?
This is a tough one! Taekwondo has taught me so many key things about life and about myself, so it's hard to boil all of those attributes down into just one. But, if I had to name one thing I have learned in my career, I would say the most important thing it has taught me is respect. Even before we step into the arena, the first thing we do is bow to one another, so respect is a huge part of Taekwondo, and it has opened my eyes to the fact that respect is also a huge part of having a happy life. It has not only taught me to have respect for the art and respect for others but to have respect for myself, and that is such a crucial quality for anyone to have.
Q: As an Ask, Listen, Learn Superstar and world class athlete, you often speak to students about your life and all of the incredible feats you've been able to accomplish, including the steps you took to make it to where you are today. If you could tell your young fans one thing, what advice would you give them?
I think the most important thing young people can do is have a dream, to have a goal that will make you want to aspire to be the best person you could possibly be. It's crucial for young people to find something that they like, that they are passionate about and that they truly enjoy and try to become better at that — whatever it may be — every single day. That is how you reach your goals, and that is how you create the life you've always wanted. That being said, it's also important to know that you're going to have to stay focused on your end goal and not let yourself get distracted by anything that could keep you from reaching it. So, find your passion, set your goal and make good, healthy choices along the way, and you will find happiness.
We're so glad Steven could spend some time with the Ask, Listen, Learn team! He's such an incredible athlete, person and role-model, and we look forward to watching him in the Games! Good luck, Steven!