Paige McPherson’s journey to her historic third Olympics

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Paige McPherson was born here in Abilene on October 1, 1990. But her time in the Big Country was short lived as her birth mother Shonna Nichols put her up for adoption not being able to support her and her brother. She was adopted by Dave and Susan McPherson who would end up be a great father and mother figure to her.

McPherson said, “The McPhersons are my tribe. Looking back, the person who I am today being able to adapt is contributed to my upbringing.”

McPherson was one of five kids her adoptive parents brought in. Her older brother Evan competed in taekwondo spurring her to get involved and it all took off from there.

McPherson said, “I started the competitive side just randomly. My instructor decide there was a state tournament close to our town and why not just sign up for it. We come to find out that I was really good at fighting.”

After winning a gold medal in the 2008 Pan American Championships, McPherson knew she was talented enough to compete in the Olympics. She moved to Miami in 2009 to train with Olympic medalist Juan Moreno. In 2012, McPherson not only achieved making the Olympics, she also won the bronze medal over Franka Anic in London.

McPherson said, “It was an emotional moment, at the end of the day, I always have to give my victories to the Lord because without him, I wouldn’t have done what I have achieved. Nobody expected myself to win having been the youngest athlete and smallest athlete.”

Now, McPherson is the only female Taekwondo competitor in American history to make the Olympics three times. Her message to her country is clear as she tries to earn a second medal.

McPherson said, “There is no specific path way or specific individual human being type person that can be successful. I am very confident that I have what it takes to be in Tokyo.”

McPherson travels to compete in Tokyo July 17.

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