Sturgis native Paige McPherson became South Dakota’s latest Olympian when she qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team in Taekwondo.
McPherson beat Nia Abdalah of Houston in the 67-kilogram division at the Olympic Trials in Colorado on Saturday.
McPherson built a 5-0 lead through two rounds and went on to earn the 5-4 victory.
Now, McPherson is off to the London Games, where she will be joined by siblings Diana and Steven Lopez and Terrence Jennings on the American team.
The victory completed a lengthy journey for McPherson. In 2009, she made the decision to move thousands of miles — and without the rest of her family — to Miami, where she began training with two-time Olympic medalist Juan Moreno at Peak Performance Martial Arts.
“I was deeply humbled and grateful,” McPherson said in an earlier interview with the Journal about making the Olympic team. “I have proven myself, and I know I can make results.”