Taekwondo DVD

WTF Membership:
 188 As of Dec. 31, 2007

WTF President’s New Year Message

I would like to wish a happy and prosperous New Year to the entire global taekwondo family.

For the World Taekwondo Federation, the year 2007 was meaningful to the development of taekwondo as the WTF resolutely carried out its reform and development programs as part of efforts to bring about a renaissance in taekwondo.

Master Ji Ho Choi of U.S. Elected New President of Pan American Taekwondo Union
WTF President Proposes Creation of ‘Sport Peace Corps’ at Int’l Peace and Sport Forum in Monaco
Asian Taekwondo Qualification Tournament Kicks Off in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Nov. 28 for 3-Day Run
Ceremonies Held for Award Winners of Overseas Non-Korean Taekwondo Masters Essay Competition
WTF African Taekwondo Qualification Tournament Wraps Up in Resounding Success in Tripoli, Libya.
Samsung Officially Sponsors African Taekwondo Player Modibo Keita
Sibling Rivalry Could Turn to Olympic History for Lopez Family

WTF President’s New Year Message

I would like to wish a happy and prosperous New Year to the entire global taekwondo family.

For the World Taekwondo Federation, the year 2007 was meaningful to the development of taekwondo as the WTF resolutely carried out its reform and development programs as part of efforts to bring about a renaissance in taekwondo.

The WTF places the highest priority on ensuring fair judging and refereeing at all taekwondo competitions. In March 2007, the WTF organized the Electronic Protector International Taekwondo Championships in Chuncheon, Korea to help determine when it will adopt the electronic protector system at major taekwondo competitions.

Continuing efforts by electronic protector manufacturers to perfect their technologies and positive evaluations of the use of electronic protector systems at taekwondo events at home and abroad combined to pave the way for the introduction of an electronic protector system at WTF-promoted and sanctioned events.

Also in July 2007 the WTF organized a week-long training camp at Woosuk University in Jeonju, Korea to select international referees who will officiate at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The event drew some 200 international referees from 57 countries. The WTF will select the final 29 referees through several stages of screening.

As a result of the WTF’s stepped-up referee training, for the first time in the federation’s 34-year history, not a single protest was lodged at the WTF World Taekwondo Qualification Tournament in Manchester, England, and at subsequent continental qualifier tournaments in Africa, Asia and Oceania.

As you are all well aware, fair judging and refereeing is the key to the future of taekwondo as an Olympic sport.

The WTF successfully hosted the 2nd WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Incheon, Korea, which greatly contributed to the expansion of the global taekwondo community. A re-energized taekwondo as a sport for all is expected to help increase WTF membership from the current 188 countries to well over 200 in the near future.

As part of efforts to further promote the image of taekwondo and the WTF, the federation’s General Assembly adopted a WTF taekwondo anthem in May 2007, in Beijing.

Also in May, the WTF held its first International Symposium for Taekwondo Studies on the occasion of the 18th World Taekwondo Championships, which was held in Beijing from May 18 to 22. The two-day symposium was held at the Capital Institute of Physical Education in Beijing, under the theme “The Pursuit of World Peace Through Fair Play.”

To be reborn as a genuine international sports federation, the WTF will continue to improve its financial transparency and administrative procedures to the highest global standards, as well as ensure fairer judging and refereeing in the year 2008, when the WTF marks the 35th anniversary of its founding.

For taekwondo to guarantee its continued status as an Olympic sport after year 2016, a successful taekwondo competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is crucial. Fair judging and model behavior by athletes and coaches based on fair play would greatly help enhance the image of taekwondo in international sports circles.

More countries are expected to win at least one medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games now that the International Olympic Committee decided in May 2007 to increase the number of bronze medals to be awarded at Olympic taekwondo competition from one per weight category to two starting with the 2008 Beijing Olympics, thus helping taekwondo give more hope and dreams to young people around the world. Taekwondo aspires to produce good people through the practice of this sport.

The WTF will do its best to ensure successful competitions at the ‘Good Luck’ Beijing 2008 International Taekwondo Invitational Tournament scheduled for Feb. 26 to 29 in Beijing, which serves as an Olympic test event, and at the 7th WTF World Junior Taekwondo Championships slated for May 8 to 11 in Izmir, Turkey.

In addition, in the New Year the WTF will continue to expand its assistance programs for taekwondo-developing countries.

In this regard, on December 6 I proposed the creation of a “Sport Peace Corps” while attending the 1st International Peace Sport Forum in Monaco.

The proposal envisions expanding the WTF’s taekwondo assistance program to involve all sports on a global basis, in cooperation with such international organizations as the IOC and the United Nations, as well as other international sports federations.

Dear global taekwondo family members,

To usher in a fruitful New Year for taekwondo and the WTF, I ask for your continued support and concern. I wish you good fortune and health in the coming year.

Best Regards,

Chungwon Choue

WTF Pan American Qualification Tournament Concludes in Success in Cali, Colombia

Venezuela earned four berths for the taekwondo competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games after the 2007 WTF Pan American Taekwondo Qualification Tournament, which ended on Dec. 9, 2007 in Cali, Colombia.

The United States and Brazil clinched three places each, while Colombia, Mexico and Puerto Rico earned two places each for the Beijing Olympic Games through the two-day qualification tournament, which took place at

the Velodrome in Cali. The tournament drew 85 players from 34 countries.

In the men’s -58kg category, Marcio Wenceslau of Brazil placed first, while Guillermo Perez of Mexico finished second and Gabriel Mercedes of the Dominican Republic placed third.

In the men’s -68kg division, Peter Lopez Santos from Peru placed first, Mark Lopez from the United States and Idulio Islas from Mexico placed second and third respectively.

In the men’s -80kg category, Puerto Rico’s Juan Sanchez placed first, while Honduras’ Miguel Adrian Ferrera ranked second and Venezuela’s Carlos Vasquez placed third.

Cuba’s Angel Matos placed first in the men’s +80kg category while Costa Rica’s Kristopher Miotland placed second and Venezuela’s Juan Diaz placed third.

In the women’s -49kg category, Gladis Mora of Colombia placed first, while Dalia Contreras of Venezuela placed second and Charlotte Craig of the United States placed third.

In the women’s -57kg division, Brazil’s Debora Nunes placed first, while the United States’ Diana Lopez placed second and Colombia’s Doris Patino ranked third.

In the women’s -67kg category, Vanina Sanchez Beron of Argentina placed first. Karine Sergerie of Canada placed second in the division, while Asuncion Ocasio of Puerto Rico ranked third.

Brazil’s Natalia Falavigna placed first in the women’s +67kg category, Ecuador’s Lorena Aida Benitez placed second and Venezuela’s Adriana Carmona placed third.

Master Ji Ho Choi of U.S. Elected New President of Pan American Taekwondo Union

Master Ji Ho Choi of the United States was elected the new president of the Pan American Taekwondo Union at its General Assembly in Cali, Colombia on Dec. 7, 2007.

The election took place one day before the 2007 WTF Pan American Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which started on Dec. 8 for a two-day run.

Master Choi, who has served as executive director of the PATU, will serve as the new president of the PATU until the next General Assembly, which is scheduled in Puerto Rico on the occasion of the 2008 Pan American Taekwondo Championships, most likely to be held in October or November 2008. The new president of the 42-member PATU will complete the remaining period of the term of the late Dr. Cha Sok Park.

Until the election, the PATU, which has 42 member national countries, was briefly led by the interim president, Dr. Varo Barragan of Panama, who failed to gain a vote of confidence from the General Assembly. The General Assembly then proceeded to elect a new president from the two candidates, Mr. Choi of the United States and Mr. Adalberto Escoto of the Dominican Republic.

Master Choi has served the PATU for the past 12 years in various areas. He received a strong mandate in this election with a 28-11 voting count.

Upon completion of the voting count, a motion was proposed on the floor to extend Mr. Choi's term to an additional four years to allow him to implement his election commitments.

Mr. Choi, however, humbly asked to withdraw the motion and expressed his appreciation to the General Assembly for their confidence in him, according to participants in the General Assembly. He will be running again at the next General Assembly in Puerto Rico as a candidate to promote equal opportunity for all other candidates for the next term.

Mr. Choi's humble, yet confident announcement was appreciated by the delegates with great expectations, according to the General Assembly participants.

WTF President Proposes Creation of ‘Sport Peace Corps’ at Int’l Peace and Sport Forum in Monaco

WTF President Chungwon Choue proposed the creation of the so-called “Sport Peace Corps” at an international forum on peace and sport in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on Dec. 6, 2007.

“Inspired by the ‘Taekwondo Peace Corps' initiative, I propose developing a ‘Sport Peace Corps’ program to expand the initiative globally in a larger scale and to involve other international organizations,” said WTF President Choue.

He said, “The Sport Peace Corps entails provision of comprehensive sport-related assistance to the developing countries or the United Nations-assigned areas.” “The assistance includes coaching and training service to the local young athletes, supply of equipment and facilities, and finding the means and opportunity for the competent young people to participate in the international sport events.”

“It requires a group of volunteers consisted of coaches, athletes, and teachers to be dispatched to serve the assigned community,” WTF President Choue said.

He made the proposal at Session 4 of the inaugural International Peace and Sport Forum, which opened at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel on Dec. 5 for a three-day run. The sub-topic of Session 4 was “The Sport Movement: Legitimacy, Means and Sectors of Intervention.”

Under the patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of the Municipality of Monaco, the first edition of the international forum drew more than 150 people from around the world.

The International Peace and Sport Forum is a unique international gathering, which brings together heads of state and governments, sport governing bodies -- the International Olympic Committee, International Sports Federations, National Olympic Committees -- the World Olympians Association, strategic and financial partners, sport experts and non-governmental organizations.

Among the participants were H.S.H. Prince Albert II; Joel Bouzou, president of Peace and Sport; Mr. Adolf Ogi, special advisor to the secretary general of the United Nations on Sport for Development and Peace; Mr. Mario Pescante, a member of the IOC Executive Board; and H.R.H. Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Abdulaziz, president of the Executive Board of Saudi Arabian NOC.

Special guests were invited as speakers of the forum -- Prof. Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom; and Mr. Galeb Majadle, minister of culture, sport and science of Israel. Prof. Hassassian attended the forum on behalf of Mr. Riad Malki, minister of information and Foreign affairs of Palestine.

Under the topic “Taekwondo’s Role as an Instrument of Peace,” WTF President Choue said that “The Sport Peace Corps project aims at utilizing sport as part of education, training and youth program; giving hope and dream to those who are deprived of the opportunity to learn and practice sports by providing equipment, skills for education and training, and coaches for any Olympic sport; encouraging balanced development of Olympic sport in different regions, correcting the uneven medal distribution in the past Olympic Games that benefited a limited number of countries; and contributing to the promotion of friendship and understanding through sport and people-to-people interaction.” “Ultimately this project encourages participation of sport-loving people in the peace-building process.”

Dr. Choue’s proposal drew a keen and high interest among the participants in the forum.

The Sport Peace Corps concept was first raised by WTF President Choue at an international workshop on sports and peace in Leuven, Belgium, on Sept. 21, 2007. The workshop was jointly organized by KatholiekeUniversiteit Leuven, the International Peace Research Association and the Graduate School of Physical Education, Kyung Hee University in Korea. It was supported by the WTF and GCS International.

The opening ceremony of the international forum was held at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort on Dec. 5, with the attendance of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.

“Peace and sport will strive to convince political leaders, international organizations and key civil society players that sport can widely contribute to peace,” said Prince Albert II during the opening ceremony.

Peace and Sport is a world place initiative aimed at promoting the structuring values of education through sport, serving individuals and communities across the world. It is an organization governed by Monegasque law and settled in the Principality of Monaco.

Asian Taekwondo Qualification Tournament Kicks Off in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Nov. 28 for 3-Day Run

The 2007 WTF Asian Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games concluded successfully on Nov. 30 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The three-day qualifying event, which was held at the Phu Tho Stadium in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, attracted 83 contestants from 28 Asian countries and territories.

The tournament was officiated by 22 international referees selected from among the 184 participants in the WTF International Referee Training Camp held at Woosuk University in Korea in July.

The opening day of the Asian qualifying tournament featured two weight categories

of the men’s -58kg and the women’s -49kg, while the following two days featured three weight divisions each: the men’s -68kg, the men’s +80kg and the women’s -67kg (on Nov. 29); and the men’s -80kg, the women’s -57kg and the women’s +67kg (on Nov. 30).

Through the Asian tournament, a total of 24 slots were allocated. Each member national association was allowed to field a maximum two male and two female contestants out of four male and four female Olympic weight categories.

The top three athletes from each of the eight Olympic weight divisions at the Asian qualifying event qualify their National Olympic Committees a place in the respective event.

The results are as follows;

Men’s -58kg category

1st : Behzad Khodadad K. (Iran)
2nd : Rohullah Nikpai (Afghanistan)
3rd : Dech Sutthikunkarn (Thailand)

Women’s -49kg category

1st : Ha Giang Hoang (Vietnam)
2nd : Mae-Num Chirdkiatisak (Thailand)
3rd : Sara Khosh Jamal Fekry (Iran)

Men's -68kg category


Men's +80kg category


Women's -67kg category


Men's -80kg Category


Women's -57kg Category


Women's +67kg Category


Ceremonies Held for Award Winners of Overseas Non-Korean Taekwondo Masters Essay Competition

A series of ceremonies have been held in Korea to honor award winners of the Overseas Non-Korean Taekwondo Masters Essay Competition.

The six-month essay contest, which started on March 1, 2007 until Aug. 31, was jointly organized by the World Taekwondo Federation, the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation and the Kukkiwon.

Out of 52 entries from 25 countries, the TPF-selected Screening Committee selected 14 winning essays after a month of evaluation.

On the occasion of the welcoming party for participants in the World Taekwondo Hanmadang 2007, which was organized by the Kukkiwon, the awarding ceremony of the Overseas Non-Korean Taekwondo Masters Essay Competition, was held at Hotel Ritz in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Nov. 2.

The grand prize of “the Korean Culture and Tourism Minister Award,” went to Senegal’s Seck Dame, who submitted his essay under the title “This is the Life I have Chosen.”

The best award of “the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation Chairman Award” was given to three people. Their names and essay titles are Mrs. Haya Q. Karadsheh of Jordan (“Teaching Taekwondo in a Different Way”), Mrs. Anita Seo-Dornbach of the Netherlands (“To Reach in the Moon”), and Mr. Muhktar Kadiri of Ghana (“Eternal Passion: My Journey with Taekwondo”).

The special prize of “the World Taekwondo Federation President Award” went to five people. They are Mr. Thomas Eugene Perry of the United States (“Lessons in Life: Lessons in Loyalty Learned through Taekwondo”), Mr. Richard J. Botticello Jr. of the Unites States (“The Martial Arts, My Church”), Mr. Abraham Hernandez Garnica of Mexico (“The Village of the Children”), Mr. Jack Rozinszky of Australia (“Journey of a Lifetime”), and Mr. Perparim Ferunaj of Albania (“Difficulties of Taekwondo Promotion in Albania”).

The special prize of “The Kukkiwon President Award”) were presented to five people. They are Mr. Norbert Mosch of Austria (“A Taekwondo Life”), Mr. David Bailey of Scotland (“a Life Transformed”), Mr. Felix Ayensu of Canada (“Taekwondo - An Ultimate Test of Spirit that Turns Vision into Reality”), and Mr. Sergio Chavez of Mexico (“Relection”).

On Nov. 3, a farewell dinner party hosted by the WTF president for the award winners of the essay contest was held at the Ramada Seoul Hotel in Seoul.

“Your strong love for and dedication to the promotion of Taekwondo combined to help Taekwondo maintain its Olympic status,” said Mr. Dai-soon Lee, vice president of the WTF and chairman of the TPF, at the dinner party on behalf of the WTF president.

He said, “In this regard, I ask for your continued support for Taekwondo and the WTF.” “The WTF will post your winning essays on the WTF Web site and carry them in the WTF Taekwondo magazine, thereby helping them be read by both the global Taekwondo family and non-taekwondo people worldwide.”

While in Korea, the award winners watched several taekwondo competitions, including the World Taekwondo Hanmadang, the 2nd WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships and the 3rd Korea Open International Taekwondo Championships.

WTF African Taekwondo Qualification Tournament Wraps Up in Resounding Success in Tripoli, Libya.

The WTF African Taekwondo Qualification Tournament concluded in a resounding success in Tripoli, Libya on Nov. 2, 2007. No protest was lodged during the two-day event.

Morocco earned three berths for the taekwondo competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games after the two-day WTF African Taekwondo Qualification Tournament.

Kenya, Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire clinched two places each for the Beijing Olympic Games through the African Qualification Tournament, which took place at the African Union Hall in downtown Tripoli. The tournament drew 77 players from 26 countries, with the attendance of 22 international referees.

Seven other countries won one ticket each for the 2008 Olympic Games. They are Gabon, Benin, Libya, Guinea, Senegal, Tunisia and Egypt.

The final day of the African qualification tournament featured four weight categories -- the men’s -58kg and -80kg and the women’s -57kg and -49kg.

In the men’s -58kg category, Kenya’s Dickson Wamwiri Wanjiku placed first, while Benin’s Ogoudjobi Jean Moloise placed second.

In the men’s -80kg category, Cote d'Ivoire’s Nguessan Sebastien Konan placed first, while Gabon’s Lioner Bagule placed second, earning their countries a berth each for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

In the women’s -57kg division, Cote d'Ivoire’s Mariam Bah placed first, while Senegal’s Bineta Diedhiou placed second.

In the women’s -49kg division, Kenya’s Milka Akinyi placed first, while Morocco’s Ghizlane Toudali placed second.

A total of 128 athletes are to compete in the taekwondo competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Through the WTF African Taekwondo Qualification Tournament, the top two athletes from each of the eight Olympic weight categories, totaling 16, qualify their national Olympic committees to compete in the taekwondo competition at the 2008 Olympic Games.

The immediate continental qualification tournament is the WTF Asian Taekwondo Qualification Tournament scheduled for Nov. 28-30 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The Oceania qualification is slated for Dec. 1 in New Caledonia; the Pan-American qualification on Dec. 8-9 in Cali, Colombia; and the European qualification on Jan. 26-27, 2008 in Istanbul, Turkey.


Cyber Taekwondo Community Out to Attract Members Worldwide

-- TAGORA Homepage Kicks off UCC Contest

Korea's Taekwondo Promotion Foundation (TPF), along with an online martial arts portal site, MOOKAS, held a UCC video contest for taekwondo enthusiasts under the theme "I Love Taekwondo."

The contest , which started from Nov. 10 to Dec. 10 and drew 184 entries from at home and abroad, aimed to increase interest in taekwondo by sharing personal experience

and feelings about the sport, a TPF official said.

The event came one month before the official opening of a taekwondo community Web site TAGORA, a word made by joining a "T" for taekwondo to the Greek word "agora," which means public square.

The Web site opened on Dec. 10 and was intended to be a cyber gathering place for the exchange of opinions, feelings and information about taekwondo, the TPF official said.

Participants were requested to submit 30-second to five-minute clips containing any kind of taekwondo experiences, such as practice sessions or competitions, to www.tagora.kr from Nov. 10 to Dec. 10.

A total of 35 winners were announced through the homepages of TPF (www.tpf.kr) and TAGORA on Dec. 15.

The TPF was established in July 2005 under the aim of improving and developing the global position of taekwondo by building and managing a taekwondo park, and promoting taekwondo to contribute to the national development.

According to the TPF, a 2 million-square-meter taekwondo park will be established in Muju, North Jeolla Province by 2013. Organizers hope that the park becomes a mecca for taekwondo's estimated 60 million practitioners from 187 WTF member nations, the TPF official explained.

Cayman represented at 2007 Taekwondo qualifier

(Cayman Netnews) Harold Davis represented the Cayman Islands at the 2007 World Taekwondo Federation Pan-Am Taekwondo Qualification Tournament in Cali, Colombia from Thursday 6 to Monday, 10 December.
Over 40 countries participated in this prestigious tournament, which geared up qualifiers for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Mr Davis has represented the Cayman Islands in the past and has done tremendously well.

In 2000, he won a silver medal in fighting and bronze medal in forms in Georgia, USA, despite two knee injuries in the past that has damped his mental and physical abilities.

Accompanying Mr Davis was Ronald Wilson, Team Manager, and Master Steve Graham, delegate.

Samsung Officially Sponsors African Taekwondo Player Modibo Keita

Samsung officially sponsors the African Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which took place from Oct. 31, 2007 to Nov.2 in Tripoli, Libya.

As part of the supporting activities, Samsung became an official sponsor of an African taekwondo player, Modibo Keita from Mali. Mr. Keita is the only African player who is to participate in the Beijing Olympics through

the World Qualification Tournament.

Mr. Keita and Samsung first formed a relationship when he received "Samsung Blue Passion Award" at the World Taekwondo Championships in Beijing in May 2007 for his excellent expression of the passionate spirit of taekwondo.

Mr. Keita is globally recognized taekwondo player in heavy weight (+84Kg) category, and has received several gold medals in various competitions in the United States, Spain, China, France, Ghana and etc. He is also famous for his background human story to become a taewkondo player.

He is the real winner to express the spirit and passion of taekwondo by overcoming his serious back pain which is severe damage as a taekwondo player.

In Libya, he has a chance to meet his African fans through his fan signing ceremony in the gymnasium and participate in taekwondo clinics with a Samsung demonstration team and encourage up-and-coming African taekwondo athletes.

The Samsung taekwondo demonstration team with Keita met 300 school students and learners from taekwondo clubs to give them dream and hope through taekwondo demonstration and clinic from Nov.3 through 4.

Mr. Gyehyun Kwon, vice president and head of the Worldwide Sport Marketing and Global Communications at Samsung Electronics said, “Modibo Keita is the perfect player who expresses Samsung’s sponsorship in taekwondo by showing taekwondo spirit himself. I hope our sponsorship becomes good opportunity to improve taewkondo in African region.”

Sibling Rivalry Could Turn to Olympic History for Lopez Family

By Chris Antonacci, STATS Writer

The Lopezes don't even talk about the historical ramifications.
They don't have to.

They spend enough time with each other to know they all feel the same way. It's a feeling of pride - eclipsed only by an overwhelming desire to seize a moment that comes along once a century. Yes, this may be the their best

chance to put a family stamp on the record books.

Coached by brother Jean, the Lopez trio of Steven, Mark and Diana are trying to become the first three siblings to qualify for the same U.S. Olympic team in the same sport since 1904. If they are all going to represent the U.S. in taekwondo in Beijing next summer, this will likely be their best shot.

"Everything is falling into place," Jean said. "Everyone is at an age where they have the physical ability and mental fortitude to do it."

FIND MORE STORIES IN: BEIJING | Olympic team | Mark | Diana | Lopez | Event | Lopezes
Theirs is a dream nearly 20 years in the making, dating to when Jean, 34, and Steven, 28, sat in their living room, watching the opening ceremonies of the 1988 Seoul Games when taekwondo was unveiled as a demonstration sport. They had already started to participate in the martial arts by then, but that moment became a source of their inspiration.

"We just thought it was awesome," said Steven, a two-time reigning Olympic champion. "I made a decision at that time. That's what I want to do. I knew I wanted to be an Olympian."

Mark, 25, and Diana, 23, can't remember that far back, but they became drawn to taekwondo by their brothers. Their Sugar Land, Texas, garage soon became the family's unofficial year-round dojo.

Their training now occurs in Jean's gym outside Houston, more formal than when they relied on a running dryer to provide heat for their winter training during their childhood.

Steven is the only one of the three to have actually qualified for a spot on the Olympic team so far, and it's apparent his efforts in trying to help Mark and Diana make the squad is equal to his desire to bring home another gold. The U.S. team will at most consist of two men and two women.

"It's something that is within our reach," Diana said. "That could be the happiest day of our lives. It's something we can all tell our children about. This is the best thing for all of us."

Mark and Diana can secure their first Olympic appearance if they place in the top three at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier, held from Dec. 7-9 in Cali, Colombia.

Four years ago, the U.S. team only consisted of two competitors. None of the siblings are certain where they will be four years from now to make a run at London's Games in 2012, so this may be their only chance.

"You never know what will happen," Mark said.

The previous set of three siblings to make the same U.S. Olympic team in the same sport occurred when Edward, Richard and William Tritschler all qualified in gymnastics in 1904.

The Lopezes are aware of that history - and the pressure that accompanies it. They already made some history of their own in 2005 when they became the first set of three siblings to win a world championship in the same sport.

Mark and Diana could have secured a spot in Beijing had they each finished in the top three at the World Taekwondo Qualification Event in September, but Mark lost his bantam/featherweight quarterfinal match to Korea's Son Tae Jin when he allowed the decisive point with 5 seconds left in overtime. Diana also lost a quarterfinal bout, 2-0, to Thailand's Premwaew Chonnapas.

But those setbacks haven't shaken their belief that they will join Steven, who will compete in the light/welterweight division, on the team.

"I am confident for my sister and I," Mark said. "If we remain focused, we are confident we can qualify."

Jean and Steven have helped them maintain that focus.

Taekwondo is a sport that requires balance, and there aren't many who know that more than the Lopezes.

For Jean, who was at the 30 the youngest U.S. head coach in Athens in 2004, he sometimes struggles to find the correct times on when to be a brother or a coach. For Steven, Mark and Diana, they know that the sport demands physical contact, but the sibling rivalry in sparring sessions sometimes borders on being too intense.

"We always seem to know right where the lines are that we shouldn't cross," Jean said.

Every competition is emotional for Steven. He said his family's presence makes him feel as if he has a four-on-one advantage against each of his competitors. When Steven watches his brother and sister compete, though, his emotions swing with each point.

Training together has made the Lopezes close. They each lead a lifestyle that requires dedication to their training, conditioning and diets, and it's easier knowing that they are all in it together.

"It can be lonely when you have this passion and make all of these sacrifices," Steven said. "It has never felt that bad because my family was always around me doing the same things. We have never felt alone. My best friends are in my family."

And that family is on the brink of Olympic history.