London 2012: Terrence Jennings wins Olympic spot in taekwondo

Alexandria’s Terrence Jennings, 25, qualified for his first Olympic team in taekwondo this past weekend by upsetting a member of the sport’s reigning first family.

Jennings, who attended T.C. Williams High and Northern Virginia Community College, defeated 2008 Olympic silver medalist Mark Lopez in the men’s 150-lb. division Saturday to win the spot.

Lopez had been hoping to become the third member of his family to win a trip to London for this summer’s Games during the U.S. Olympic taekwondo trials in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Steven Lopez, 33, won a place on his fourth Olympic team alongside sister, Diana Lopez, 28, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist. Paige McPherson won the other available spot.

Mark Lopez had defeated Jennings in sudden-death overtime in their first matchup on Saturday, forcing a second and deciding match. In the second match, Jennings broke a scoreless tie with a scoring kick with just 15 seconds remaining.

“I felt really well prepared and very focused,” Jennings said in a statement. “I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy day, whether it’s one match or two, I had to be completely focused. I’m overly ecstatic. This is probably one of those moments I will never forget. The fact that I can now officially call myself an Olympian -- it means the world to me.”

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