What’s left to win? Lopez set to defend eighth World Cup trophy

Sara and finance Jean Pizarro.


Sara Lopez changed the compound women’s game.

The 28-year-old dominated the sport in the late 2010s, won the world championships – finally – in 2021, and collected a record eighth Hyundai Archery World Cup trophy last season.

“When I started archery back in 2009, I made a list of goals,” she says. “Everything is checked off.”

Over the past couple of seasons, her competitors have caught up.

Every year it seems the time is right for Lopez to be dethroned. But it hasn’t happened – she’s unbeaten in matchplay at the World Cup Final since 2014. That’s 24 wins, almost as many as her historic streak in 2017.

“It’s not a secret that I lost my motivation as soon as we came back from the pandemic,“ says Sara. Her issues with target panic after the 2021 Pan Am Championships are well documented. “I wasn’t having fun, I was struggling with my mental health. I was only shooting because I had to. In a way, I was suffering.”

Lopez has always loved winning.

The victories don’t come now at the same – unsustainable – rate as they did earlier in her career. Back then, she was driven and dominant. Now, she’s serene, content… but still incredibly talented.

“Right now, I have fun shooting. I don’t care so much if I win or lose,” says Sara. “I’m just enjoying my time and competitions, shooting and representing my country.”

Lopez has nothing to lose.

That’s perhaps why when she trailed Tanja Gellenthien in the title bout at the last Hyundai Archery World Cup Final, she didn’t crack. She had nothing to prove. The pressure was all on the Dane, who struggled – and it resulted in Sara’s eighth circuit win.

Her competition record won’t be beaten for a long time, if ever.

“I’m on a journey to set new goals now but basically I want to see change,” says Lopez. “First, in the way people see my country. Secondly, in the way people see women in sports and, lastly, in the way people see archery in Colombia.”

Lopez has already done her bit to change the game.

Now engaged to Puerto Rican international Jean Pizarro, her priorities are changing, too.

“I’m definitely going to spend at least half of my time [there],” she says, although the pair mostly train in Colombia. “And I‘m open to new opportunities, new competitions, shooting in the US, indoors, 3D, field. I’m going to enjoy the process of organising a wedding now – and we’ll see what happens next.”

“I’m going to competitions and enjoying myself.”

The reigning eight-time Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion returns to the international arena this week for a home Pan American Championships in Medellin.