Lopez, the Mexican national record holder, is right on schedule and set to make history.
J.T. Lopez Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Despite its overall dominance in the sporting world, Mexico has not been very successful in recent years at major championships involving track and field.
The nation of 128 million people sent entire teams to compete in the marathons and race walks at the Tokyo Olympics, but sent only one male athlete to compete in the track and field events.
Jesus Tonatiu Lopez, a 24-year-old sprinter, saw his Olympic dreams dashed in the 800m semifinals after making a tactical error that cost him valuable time.
Lopez came in third, just 0.03 seconds behind the winner, Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir, and 0.17 seconds behind the silver medalist, Poland’s Patryk Dobek.
Lopez, who debuted in 2022 at the Millrose Games, a World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting, on Saturday, “cried” after the event (29). Very frustrated, that’s how I felt. I thought there was a chance I could win that contest.
Lopez plans on making corrections in the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, on March 22 and at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, on July 22.
He adds of Belgrade, “I’m not looking for a major Achievement.”
It will be beneficial for me to compete against the best in the world. Ideally, I’ll advance to the championship round in Eugene. I’d like to win a medal, but I try not to put undue pressure on myself by setting such a lofty goal.
In the lead-up to Tokyo, Mexican journalists frequently asked Lopez about his chances of winning a medal, and he did his best to downplay their expectations.
Saying, “I don’t like to talk like that,” is typical of him. As a runner, all I want to do is give it my all. I know that if I have my best race, I have a good chance of winning a medal, therefore I want to do just that.
This is Something he’s become aware of during the Past Year.
Lopez has made a series of incremental improvements during 2020 and 2021 that have culminated in a single, tremendous jump into the realm of the world’s best. In May of last year, he ran a 1:44.40, which was a national record. Two months later, in Marietta, USA, he ran a 1:43.44, which was almost a full second faster.
In a counterintuitive turn of events, Lopez found himself happier after the first race than before. So why is that?
His 1:43 was beaten by Nijel Amos’s 1:42.91 at the Monaco Diamond League meeting on the same day. I was annoyed because I wished I could have been there. I miscalculated my running ability.
What caused him to finally succeed? Lopez’s experience mirrors that of many other athletes whose lives were flipped upside down in 2020, forcing them to rethink their strategies, re-establish their fitness levels, and come back stronger than ever when competition started.
I really believe the Pandemic benefited me,” he says.
Shortly before the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, he set a Mexican record of 1:45.03. Unfortunately, he was injured during the preliminary rounds of competition and could not continue the competition.
To improve upon what we now do effectively and address our shortcomings was our guiding principle in 2020, he says.
Simply put, the goal was to strengthen our areas of development. Prior to this, I wasn’t giving it my all, and I knew that if I wanted to improve, I would have to start working a little harder.
Lopez is now a professional athlete who trains in Hermosillo, a city of 800,000 people in the state of Sonora in northwest Mexico. It’s also where his parents, Claudia Alvarez and Ramon Enrique, raised him and where he was introduced to sports at the tender age of seven.
At the time, he was using his speed as a running back in American football, and he “didn’t really care too much” about sports in his younger years. Nonetheless, he was kept on track by parental influence.
He explains, “They forced me to train.” “When I was little, I wanted to play American football and soccer, but they said, ‘No, you’re going to be a track and field athlete.'”
His family was not particularly athletic, but his coach recognised his potential nonetheless. When Lopez, then 15 years old, attended the World Under-18 Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine in 2013, the experience was formative to say the least.
His Epiphany was this: “I want to do this all my life,” He adds.
He entered the World Under-20 Championships in Eugene, Oregon, having lowered his personal best to 1:50.33 at the age of 16. He had a 1:48.13 mile at age 17. At 18: 1:46.57.
In 2017, he competed in his first senior World Championships in London and went on to win gold in the World University Games in Taipei. Already a student at the University of Sonora, he majored in physical culture and sports while training under Conrado Soto, who remains his coach to this day.
Lopez often got up for his early morning training sessions before classes at 6 a.m., making steady monthly and annual gains. He was unable to hold down a part-time job due to the time commitments involved in sports and school, but he has always had his parents’ (who set him on this road) unwavering support.
He claims, “Even though I didn’t have a lot of money, they gave me what I needed to put me in the city where I need to compete.” Although the first few years were challenging, they ultimately helped me maintain a high level of performance throughout my career.
Moreover, I could always count on them for moral support in times of need. My parents are to thank for everything I have accomplished.
Lopez was Narrating his Narrative from a Seat by the Track at the Armory in New York City.
This was right before the start of the Millrose Games. Lopez, who had never run a 200-meter indoor race before, did well to get sixth in a time of 1:48.60.
“It was an extremely competitive environment, but I came out on top and that’s all that matters to me,” he said. “I can improve, and I know how to do so for the future.”
When Lopez was a teenager, he could have gone anywhere in the United States to get his education because of his family’s wealth and connections, but he chose to stay at home instead.
He recalls, “My coach was fantastic; I had my family and a place to call home.” It’s not necessary for me to go somewhere else because I can get whatever I need right here in Hermosillo.
He had few role models growing up who were competing at the highest levels in middle-distance events, but Lopez is hoping that his current and future success will encourage many others to do the same.
This is Something He’s Always Wanted, he Says.
To paraphrase, “I want to have people at my side at every competition. In retrospect, it was only a year ago that I truly believed I could compete with the (world’s finest). I’m just as good as they are.”