Gaby Lopez always dreamed of being in the Olympics, originally as a gymnast. She shares with us her journey of getting her LPGA Tour card as a senior at University of Arkansas, finishing college, and eventually playing in the Olympics for her native country Mexico.
So you left Arkansas. You went to-- did you go to Symetra?
No, I actually--
Went straight to the tour school?
The University of Arkansas has a sponsor exemption for the LPGA. It's in June. So for three years, I got to play it. They gave it to the best player of the team. I got to play it. And my third year, it was actually the year before the Olympics. So I made the cut. I was, I think, top 30.
And apparently I was ranked in the Olympic ranking. So that was coming into my senior year. And my ultimate, ultimate dream was to play the Olympic Games.
So I went to Q-School in my senior year. I made it through Q-School, got my card. And I kept studying. One of the things that I've always-- my parents have taught me is education goes first and golf goes second.
So I kept studying. I got my degree in May as I played on tour. And I'm just really, really proud and thankful that I got to finish my college career.
Growing up in Australia, you know, the Olympics was everything, you know? Because we have good swimmers in Australia. So we would follow all these swimmers. But you wanted to be an Olympian ever since you were little. And now, you know, you weren't going as a gymnast, but you were going as a golfer. What was it like down there?
Probably the best experience of my life. I am going--
It lived up to the hype?
Yeah, it's amazing. I think just being around the best athletes in the world in every single sport, I think it was just magical. You know, just sharing the dining room with Michael Phelps, with Usain Bolt, you know, all these amazing athletes. And--
And you stayed in the Village.
I stayed in the Village. One of the things-- I wanted to experience a full Olympic experience. And just-- I love to represent my country. I'm very, very proud to be Mexican and to always have that Mexican flag on the top. And that's actually one of the things that I do on tour, is every Sunday I like to wear a green and red and white outfit.
As well you should.