Cross The Line got in touch with USA Taekwando Olympic Bronze medallist, Paige McPherson after her appearance at Rio 2016 this summer. Paige reflects on her Olympic experiences and reveals who she glorifies after her performance.
So Paige you’ve now had some time to process your time in Rio, sum up the experience for us.
Overall the Olympics was another great experience and achievement in my career. Rio de Janeiro is such a beautiful city with a lot of culture. I fully enjoyed my time even though the results were not what I wanted.
How did it compare to London four years previous, where you came away with an amazing Bronze medal?
In comparison to London I would say that I wasn’t as overwhelmed with excitement and first time jitters. Since this was my second games, I was more focused on the competition than the overall Olympic experience. Nonetheless, I am still grateful to have had another opportunity in going for the gold.
Could you share your testimony of how you came to know God?
I came to know the Lord at a young age through Christian education and living in a God-fearing home. I became aware of my need for a Savior, who could save me from myself and compensate for my weakness. Once I began to believe and trust in Him, my life has truly become a life full of grace.
How did you actually get into Taekwondo, was it always the dream for you?
I was introduced to TaeKwonDo through following my older brother’s footsteps as a little girl. My parents adopted five children from different nationalities. My older brother, Evan, is Korean. When my parents found out there was a Korean sport in the local town, they put him into it. Later into the sport I found my God-given talent and decided to pursue my goal of making the Olympics. I have always dreamed about going to the Olympics since it first became an Olympic sport in 2000.
What is it like to be part of ‘Team USA’, with all of the talent and winning pedigree there?
It is a great feeling being apart of the most decorated team in the Games. I am truly grateful to have known and become friends with a lot of the team.
There is a special feeling being apart of something bigger than yourself. It creates this sense of determination to give it ones all for not only yourself but for God, Team USA, family, friends, and supporters.
How do you actively display your faith in Christ through your Taekwondo, is it just about being a role model to others?
I display my faith in God by trusting in Him and giving praise to His name regardless of the outcome(s). I know that with the Lord’s strength through all my efforts that anything is possible. I would not be here if it wasn’t for God’s hand working in my life. Also, I confess that the goal is not to be a role model for others, but simply try to live for and give glory to the Lord through my actions, interactions, and personal choices.
There must be countless perks that come your way from being an Olympian, anything you didn’t expect? Do people treat you any differently?
I think the most shocking outcome of being an Olympian going to Rio was the amount of support I had this time around. So many people gave me encouragement before and after the results. I am truly grateful to those who truly supported me throughout my Olympic journeys.
Another perk of being an Olympian is that people do look at you differently, especially when you achieve to go a second time (my personal experience). There is a sense of respect and understanding that you are one of the best in your sport.
Who would you say is the toughest opponent that you have ever faced?
One of the toughest matches that I’ve had to face in my career would be against my teammate this past Olympic Team Trials. She is such a talented person and like a sister to me. It was very hard from a mental standpoint simply because one of us would end up ending one’s dream of going to the Olympics.
What’s the biggest thing that you feel you need to work on as you look towards Tokyo 2020?
The one thing I need to work on is my faith in trusting the Lord. Whether Tokyo is my final Games or not, only God knows. His plan is perfect for me and I simply need to accept and enjoy the journey.
Being in an individual sport, is it harder to stay motivated and push yourself, or do you work with others?
I have always found motivation through my family, teammates, and the people around me, who have been a positive influence in my life. Although I compete alone, I never have to train alone. As I always say, it takes a village to raise a champion.