A surprise qualifier during the Olympic trials, McPherson, 21, defeated 2004 silver medalist, Nia Abdallah, to earn a spot on the 2012 roster. And, given her personal narrative, a great showing at the Olympics Games will make her story even more spectacular, according to NBC Miami.
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“I grew up in Sturgis, South Dakota. Basically farmland. Small town. Everyone knows everyone. [Miami] was definitely a culture shock for me,” McPherson said.
WATCH Paige McPherson In Action!
She’s currently in Miami preparing for the London Games. Recruited by two-time Olympic medalist, Juan Moreno, McPherson has been honing her skills in South Florida for the past three years. Though she hails from the farmlands of the Midwest, Miami’s ethnic diversity is not a culture shock to her.
“My brother is from Korea. My little sister is from St. Lucia. I’m Filipino and African-American, so we are all around the world,” McPherson says. “I’ve never lived with anyone that is the same like me, so it’s practically normal for me to be around people with different personalities.”
While she may have a warm smile and shy demeanor, McPherson is one tough costumer. Her teammates nicknamed her, “McFierce!”
Her family plans on traveling to London to see her compete. McPherson has to win four fights to win gold. Each fight is three rounds and each round lasts two minutes. She begins competition on August 10.
Though winning the top medal is at the top of McPherson’s agenda, an equally golden moment for her will be the day she meets her biological mother and father.
“I have a biological older brother, so when I turned 18, my dad hired a detective and we found him. I’ve met and actually talked to him. And I have a half-brother and half-sister. And I even talked to my mom too but I never met them. After the Olympics I will meet them.”
And hopefully, she’ll have a gold medal in hand when she does.