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'Good chance' Gaby Lopez carries Mexico's flag at Olympics opening ceremony

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Gaby Lopez is looking forward to the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. And with good reason.

Lopez told on Tuesday that following her victory at the 2020 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, where she is defending her title this week, she was approached by Carlos Padilla Becerra, the president of the Mexican Olympic Committee. Lopez says he offered her the opportunity to carry the flag for Mexico during the opening ceremony in Japan.

“It’s a huge honor to be able to represent my country in women’s golf in Mexico, which isn’t a huge sport,” Lopez said. “To just inspire little girls and [for them to] see what a golfer and little girl can do to achieve their dreams, that’s going to be why I play golf and that’s what it means to me and my life and my career.”

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While no official announcement has been made, Lopez says there’s a “good chance” she will be the banner woman for Mexico. Lopez is the most successful female golfer to come out of Mexico since Lorena Ochoa. After a decorated career at the University of Arkansas, where she won three individual titles, Lopez joined the LPGA Tour in 2016. She is currently No. 56 in the Rolex Rankings and as the top-ranked female golfer from Mexico is well-positioned to make her second Olympics appearance. She finished T-31 in Rio in 2016.

“That’s my ultimate goal, being able to peak at that week,” Lopez said about the Games. “That’s what my schedule is going to be played around, being rested, being prepared, in time to play well that week.”

In 2016, Julieta Granada carried the flag for Paraguay during the opening ceremony in Rio. In 2018, Inbee Park carried the torch into the stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea when the Winter Olympics were held in her home country.

The Summer Olympics were postponed one year because of the coronavirus pandemic and are scheduled to be contested July 23 - August 8.