Wednesday, July 30, 2008
An Editorial From Nia's Parent Thomas J. Duhart Jr.
EDITORAL OF LOPEZ STORY
By: Thomas J. Duhart, Jr.
As I read the article written by David Barron of the Houston Chronicle about the so called first family of Taekwondo the Lopez Family one thing stood out in my mine. Mr. Barron wrote that Diana defeated 2004 Silver Medalist Nia Abdallah of Houston in overtime in a match with a disputed outcome. Nia is my step-daughter and before I write this letter I encourage anyone that reads it go online to wesupportnia.blogspot.com and view the fight for yourself.
This history making match is the one that propelled the Lopez siblings into Olympic History. As for myself I’ve viewed that fight many times and not only that,I was there in Des Moines as an eye witness. With speed, agility and strength Nia easily beat Diana Lopez and was definitely the better fighter. These comments are not coming from a disgruntled parent but from someone who has been around this sport for 15 years. I have no hard feeling or animosity toward the Lopez family because my Christian faith will not allow it. I just want people to know the truth about how the history was made because there is a big difference between Making History and Faking History.
There are many behind the scene improprieties that have happened to Nia and for legal reasons I am not allowed to discuss them because I will take legal action soon. Jean Lopez is the US Coach and the brother of Nia’s chief rival and the other brother Mark Lopez sits on the Board of Directors of USA Taekwondo, just add in Steven Lopez the two time gold medalist and four times World Champion, Nia was up against a stacked deck. Mr. Barron pointed out in his article how the sibling’s parents came from Nicaragua and made a life here in American and built a family an American family. These were strong words because America is still the country of opportunity.
My response to the story is that even though it is a good story it is not an unfamiliar story. All Americans that live here have a story. Nia is an African American female, the sixth generation from slavery. Both of her grandfathers served their country in WWII. Nia has had uncles and cousins fight for this country in Korea, Vietnam and all the way to the streets of Baghdad. Her cousin James Berry is a retired 4-Star General from the US Army. Nia has an incredible story which would take me writing a book to tell it all. In 2004, in spite of all the obstacles placed in her patch Nia overcame them. In Athens, Nia represented her country valiantly fighting with a fractured foot. When everything was over with I vividly remember everything that happened that day. After her final match Nia cried and was so disappointed about not winning the gold medal as she clutched her late grandfather Curtis. E. Hobbs Sr. U.S. Flag that was given to her grandmother at his funeral.
Nia wanted to stand on the podium and hear our National Anthem played and later drape her grandfather flag across her shoulders as she walked around the arena. Her grandfather introduced her to the idea of going to the Olympics. I told Nia that she was still young and she could do it at the next Olympics. Nia worked hard and she trained hard to get back to the Olympics. Nia is a much better fighter then the one that won a Silver Medal in Athens.
My wife and I have always taught Nia to put your faith in God, work hard and never have an excuse if you don’t succeed. What do you tell your child when they do the right thing and due to politics and money the system fails them? This country has a myriad of problems but maybe I’m naïve, I always believed that sports transcend any barrier including race.
The best usually always win and especially in the Olympics the best Athletes get to represent their country. However in Nia’s case the system failed her and the media has turned a blind eye to her fate. I graduated from the University of Houston in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism because I believed in the Medias ideal of wanting to search for the truth. It seams like money, commercials and Big Business is more important than the truth.
A few people told me to forget about what happened to Nia what done is done. My response to them was it didn’t happen to your child but it could, someone has to make a stand. If they can do that to Nia an established Athlete in Taekwondo and an Olympic Silver Medalist no one is safe. This time it was Taekwondo next time it could be something much graver because if good people stand by and do nothing evil will always rein.