Following a summer of medal-winning international performances, Venezuelan Olympian Jessica Lopez told IG she is preparing for next month's world championships with her sights already set on the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Jessica Lopez (Venezuela)
"I am not focusing on immediate results," said Lopez, who most recently made all four finals and won the bronze medal on uneven bars at the World Cup of Ghent, held Sept. 11-12. "Worlds will be just a preparation for next year's world championships and hopefully London 2012."
Lopez said her goal for worlds, which will take place Oct. 16-24 in Rotterdam, include good individual results and a step toward London for her team.
The top 24 teams in Rotterdam will qualify for the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo, from which the top eight teams will qualify for the Olympics. Four other teams will earn Olympic berths at a qualification competition in early 2012.
"Although I am aiming for both all-around and events finals, my goal is to show good performance and progression, and make a good contribution to help our team qualify to Japan 2011," said Lopez, who placed 37th all-around in qualifications at the 2009 Worlds in London.
In addition to Ghent, Lopez's busy year includes medals at two other World Cup events. In May she took third on uneven bars at the Moscow World Cup, and in June won two golds (uneven bars and floor exercise) and two bronzes (vault and balance beam) at the Porto World Cup in Portugal.
In July she won the all-around and floor exercises titles, and three bronze medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. In early September she placed third all-around, and second on uneven bars and balance beam, at the Pan American Championships in Guadalajara.
Lopez, who competed for and recently graduated from the University of Denver, said she continues to benefit from her training base in Colorado. She is coached by Nilson Medeiros Savage at Savage Elite Sportsplex in Thornton.
"I have already been five years in Denver and I love it," she said.
Lopez, 24, said she has enjoyed her busy recent schedule.
"I love competing!" she told IG. "Entering in so many competitions this year was part of the preparation for the upcoming years."
Read "Viva Venezuela," a profile on Lopez, in the March 2008 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To order back issues, click here.