Diana Lopez is following in her older brothers' footsteps. Steven already has two Olympic gold medals in Taekwondo and will be competing with her in Beijing. As Christian athletes they understand the meaning of teamwork. The "First Family" of Taekwondo has competed together since childhood. Brother Mark is also bound for Beijing this summer and older brother Jean is their family coach. Because of their strong family bond and Christian faith, Diana says she receives the support, strength and courage she needs to contend at such an intense Olympic level.
Interview with Christian Athlete Diana Lopez
Briefly explain how and when you became a Christian:
As long as I can remember, my mother and father taught us the Christian way. We always prayed before we ate, before we went to sleep, and we always thanked God for all his blessings. We felt that we were blessed and had God to thank.
Do you attend church?
I try to attend church regularly every Sunday. There are times with my competitions that I can not attend, but if I am in town, my brothers and I will make it a point to go.
Do you read the Bible regularly?
With my hectic schedule - college classes, training and competitions - I struggle to do this on a regular basis. However, once things slow down, I would like to get back into the habit of reading the Bible on a more regular basis.
Do you have a life verse from the Bible?
Joshua 1:9 - "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." It is a verse that helps comfort me and motivate me to do my best.
How does your faith influence you as an athletic competitor?
Faith plays a big role when I am preparing for a competition. I feel that if I live a healthy Christian lifestyle that God will protect me and help me to succeed. I always say a prayer before my brothers or I step onto the mat.
Do you ever face difficult challenges because of your stand for Christ?
Fortunately, in Taekwondo the competitors are very respectful and understanding. I have never had an issue.
Do you have a favorite Christian author?
Robert Morris because of his generosity and his belief to give of yourself.
Do you have a favorite Christian music artist?
Michael W. Smith. It is very pleasant music to unwind to.
Who would you name as a personal hero of the faith?
My mother would be my personal hero of faith. She has instilled in us the value of Christianity at an early age. She sets an excellent example in the way she lives her life and is someone I try to model my own life after. My mother is the most giving and generous person I have ever met.
What is the most important life-lesson you have learned?
Many times in my career I have faced times that were really difficult, whether it was an injury or a very difficult loss. It would have been easy to have given up right then and there. However, through the strength of God and the support of my family, I never let it keep me down. I always strive to be the best at what I do, and it finally paid off with a trip to the 2008 Olympics.
Is there any other message you would like to say to readers?
We all face some challenges in life that seem insurmountable, and times when we think nothing can go right. It might be in your career, a relationship, or life in general. It is important to stay the course. And sometimes it involves putting in a little extra time and effort to right the ship. Keep praying and believing that your faith will help carry you through this difficult patch, and you will succeed. For me it was to go to the Olympics. I had several setbacks along the way, but in the end I accomplished my goal. I stayed positive! Now I am going to Beijing and living my dream.