Last May, South Dakota native Paige McPherson was focused on bringing home a medal in taekwondo at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  And she did - a bronze.

Now the former Sturgis resident is once again getting ready to take on the best of the best , this time at the World Championships in Puebla, Mexico, beginning July 15th.

While the worlds don't get the buzz the Olympics do, it's actually a more coveted title for the athletes. McPherson told the Rapid City Journal:

It’s actually a lot tougher than the Olympics.

It’s not just 16 athletes competing.

There will be every single country in the world who signs up competing.

There will be a lot more fighting, a lot more grinding throughout the day.

You could fight five or six times a day.

 

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Earlier this month, McPherson added a gold medal to her collection, winning Spanish Open on May 4 in Alicante, Spain.

After the tournament, the USA team spent a week in Madrid training with the Spanish National Team.

That definitely helped a lot. It was a good experience to see what international teams do to get ready for competition. The Spanish team took three to the Olympics and all three made it to the finals.

 

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When she's not competing, McPherson is working on getting her business degree.  She's taking courses online for now and has a plan mapped out.

I’m getting all my requirements, my electives.  Then I’ll transfer to a university (possibly Florida International University).

Florida is where McPherson calls home these days, but she will be back the Black Hills at the end of the summer for a wedding.  It should be a much more low key visit than the one she made after the Olympics last year.

Coming back was a little overwhelming at first; when I came back previously it was fresh off of the Olympics and people were so excited and hyped up. But I love coming back home. It humbles me when I come back; it sets my priorities straight.

She still has not ruled out a return to Olympic competition in Rio in 2016.