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Steven Lopez denied chance at 3rd taekwondo gold

Beijing, China (Sports Network) - American Steven Lopez was denied the chance to win his third Olympic gold medal in taekwondo when we was beaten Friday in a quarterfinal match at the Beijing Olympics.

Lopez dropped a 2-1 decision to Italy's Mauro Sarmiento in an 80-kilogram weight class bout that went to a sudden-death extra period, the first time in five years the 29-year-old has lost a match.

Leading 2-0 heading into the third period, Lopez had his advantage cut in half by a Sarmiento point. He then lost a point in a deduction penalty.

Sarmiento scored near the end of the extra period to eliminate Lopez from gold and silver medal contention.

"He is one of the best athletes in the world. We felt so happy to beat him," said Sarmiento's coach, Yoon Soon Cheul of Korea. "Before the match we prepared a lot, and during the game we used our confidence to beat him."

In addition to his five-year winning streak and two Olympic golds -- one apiece in 2000 and 2004 -- Lopez had lost only once in the last nine years, to Korean Shin Joon-sik in 2003.

He will have a chance still to play for a bronze medal.

Lopez is the oldest among three siblings competing in taekwondo in Beijing. His brother, Mark, won a silver medal in the men's 68 kg class on Thursday, while sister Diana won a bronze medal in the women's 57 kg division.

The three Lopezes are the first trio of siblings to compete in the same Olympics in 104 years. A third brother, Jean, is their coach.

08/22 05:53:52 ET

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