Steven Lopez, the only U.S. Olympic taekwondo champion, was given an interim suspension Monday after allegations of decades of sexual misconduct and an investigation that reportedly began three years ago.
Four women filed a lawsuit last week alleging that Lopez and his older brother and coach, Jean, committed sexual abuse against them. They also sued the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Taekwondo for allowing the abuse.
Lopez was suspended for “allegations of misconduct,” according to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which responds to reports of sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements.
USA Taekwondo said Lopez is suspended “pending further proceedings.”
Last June, Lopez said he never committed sexual assault or inappropriate behavior with a woman, according to USA Today, which reported USA Taekwondo began investigating claims againstthe Lopezes three years ago after women said the brothers sexually assaulted them.
USA Taekwondo consulted with the USOC and agreed to halt the probe before the Rio Olympics, according to USA Today. Lopez competed in his fifth Olympics in Rio and said in February that he planned to go for Tokyo 2020, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Jean Lopez was banned for life last month for sexual misconduct and sexual misconduct involving a minor and is reportedly appealing.
The USOC said in a media statement that it “is deeply focused on supporting, protecting and empowering the athletes we serve.”
USA Taekwondo said in a media statement, “As this is an in-process legal matter it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula, the highest-seeded American man or woman, was eliminated in the third round.
No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, is the best hope to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).
No. 9 Taylor Fritz and No. 12 Frances Tiafoe are the highest-seeded Americans, looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.