2012 Olympic Taekwondo Thread
So, the fights kick off at 4am tomorrow with the women's flyweight preliminaries.
Diana Lopez won't compete until Thursday, in the Womens' Featherweight class. Diana took bronze four years ago in Beijing in a tiebreaker versus Italy's Veronica Calbrese:
Diana Lopez Wins Bronze
Diana's first round fight is against China's Hou Yuzhou. That won't be an easy prelim, as Hou is a two-time world champion.
Diana's draw is not unique. Each of America's four competitors drew a former champion.
Also fighting Thursday in the Mens' Featherweight set is Terence Jennings. His first round draw is against the number one featherweight fighter in the world, Servet Tazegul of Turkey. Tazegul is one of my favorite fighters to watch, a pinnacle of what the sport of Taekwondo should look like. Like fellow Turk Serkan Yilmaz, Tazegul is known for devastating spinning kicks:
Tazegul defeated Jennings at the qualifiers in 2010, so this is going to be a grudge match. I'm going to be balancing my love of country with my love of seeing Tazegul step on people's faces.
On Friday, America is represented by Paige McPherson in the Womens' Welterweight competition. She's drawn former world champion and darling of the British Taekwondo team, Sarah Stevenson. Paige is just a downhome TKD girl. Her home dojang is not some fancy facility, and while she works with the Olympic coaches, she also still trains under her first sabum. I like her and I'd like to see her do well.
Also fighting on Friday is Diana's brother, Steven Lopez. He'll square off against Ajerbaijani Ramin Azizoz on Friday. Lopez has medaled twice at the Olympics and holds five world championships to his name. Whether Azizoz proves a challenge to that status should be interesting to see.