SA man wins medals at Transplant Games

Jakob Lopez wins 2 bronze medals in cycling at Transplant Games of America

SAN ANTONIO - While the Olympic games are going on in London, the Transplant Games just wrapped up in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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San Antonio's Jakob Lopez, who was competing in his first games, is back in town and he has come home a winner.

"It was an amazing, amazing experience," he said. "The experience to meet other transplant recipients was really awesome."

Not only was meeting them and competing against them awesome, but he said bringing home two bronze medals in cycling sealed the deal.

"When I was going into this, I really didn't have thoughts about winning a medal," he said.

Now 20, Lopez was a star soccer player in high school. He had his heart transplant in 2009 between his junior and senior year and still managed an impressive enough senior season to win a scholarship to Mary Hardin Baylor.

After one season, he decided the strain of that level of competition might be too much.

But Lopez said he wanted to get back into competition. He took up cycling just a few months ago and is now a medal winner.

"As soon as I crossed that finish line, I felt really emotional because (of) the opportunity to compete again," he said.

Competing and winning has stirred a fire. He now wants to train for next summer's World Transplant Games in South Africa.

"I am really going to start training a lot harder now," he said.

He also hopes his desire to compete is something that other transplant recipients can look to for inspiration.

"They can see its not the end of the world," he said. "They can keep going. They can keep competing. They can keep living life and having fun and spreading a lot more (awareness) about donating life."

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