A broken leg ended the hopes of Sugar Land's Steven Lopez to add another Olympic medal to his impressive resume as the dominant athlete in taekwondo.
Lopez, a two-time gold medalist to go along with the bronze medal he won in Beijing, lost on Friday to Ramin Azizov of Azerbaijan, the top seed in the under-80 kilogram-division, and with that loss Lopez was out of the 2012 Olympic games.
Team USA national coach Jean Lopez, Steven's brother, told FOX 26 Sports in a telephone interview from England that Steven went into the Olympics suffering from a stress reaction in his right leg.
Steven Lopez said he suffered the injury last month and X-rays after the match on Friday confirmed the injury had progressed to a fractured right fibula.
"It's frustrating to say the least," Steven Lopez said in a telephone interview with FOX 26 Sports from England. "I've been really healthy and trained really hard for this moment. So to have an injury like this, frustration would be the biggest thing. The guys are in finals now. I've beaten them before. I felt good, other than that broken fibula, but oh well, that's how it goes sometimes and just have to move forward from here."
Steven Lopez said the diagnosis of a fractured fibula in a way helps him deal with the outcome.
"I knew something was wrong with it and then I just got x-rayed maybe 30 minutes ago, and when it showed fracture I was like 'hey yea, because I don't, for lack of a better word, wus out," Steven Lopez said. That gave me some sense of, well, I am human."
And even a human has a tough time winning with a broken leg in a sport like taekwondo.
"You know you always have to find a way and I'm the last guy to come up with it was the referee's fault," Steven Lopez said. "It was this or it was that. I am the last person to come up with a reason why I didn't win. I always find a way to win.
"If it was a broken hand, broken radius, ulna, hand or arm, maybe I could have worked around that, but when it's in your leg, that's what I needed to kick, stand, bounce with. Makes it difficult."
Steven Lopez said he is coming to terms with what happened.
"I have my mind wrapped around it," Steven Lopez said. "I'm sure there's going to be moments, because I'm the kind of guy, 'okay what's next' and move forward, but I can't help but stop and think and know what should have, could have, would have happened, but didn't. So there's going to be moments of frustration, but at the end of the day I know what's happened and just have to move forward."
Jean Lopez said after his brother lost, Steven apologized to him and that the apology was not necessary.
However, Steven Lopez said that is how he felt. He wanted to apologize.
"Yea I do," Steve Lopez said. "I feel like I let so many people down. Everyone who supported me. Everyone who came here. Everyone who had me in their thoughts.
"There is a certain expectation. I feel I let people down. So yea, I did apologize. This is when I come through for everybody and unfortunately I didn't today.
"The next thing I'm thinking is world championships."
But first that broken leg has to heal.