Paige "McFierce" McPherson took her "A" game to the Tokyo Olympics. She made it through all the way to the bronze medal match but just fell short of a medal.
It was a showdown on the taekwondo mat as McPherson punched and kicked her way through the bronze medal match but she ultimately fell against Egypt’s Hedaya Wahba.
“I’m disappointed,” McPherson said. “I had that match and I should have listened to my own gut at the end of the day and I chose to listen otherwise, and it cost me the match.”
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The taekwondo veteran, who lives and trains in South Florida, had overcome a severe knee injury to get to Tokyo. She won her first two matches and powered through to the bronze medal match.
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In the end, the 30-year-old took fourth place in the women’s 67kg welterweight category at the Makuhari Messe Hall.
It was the third Olympic appearance for McPherson. She won bronze in London in 2012, and had strong showings in Rio, and now in Tokyo.
“It really is an honor to be here again for the third time. Nobody has ever done it and I was so close to another medal, but at the end of the day (I'm) just super thankful," she said.
"After this I’m actually transitioning out of the sport. It was kind of a sentimental day and emotional day overall just because it being the Olympics and also it possibly being my last competition eve,” McPherson said.
The Filipino and Black athlete is also a role model for diversity in the sport of taekwondo. Even though she lost, she won over the hearts of the Miami community and is grateful for its support.
“Thank you so much Miami. All my friends and family from there and even from around the U.S and the world. Just seeing those encouraging comments, messages and calls, I’m truly grateful,” McPherson said.
“I wouldn’t be here without you guys. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring a medal, but I did give it my all.”