COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 27, 2012 – Following bronze medal efforts at the 2012 London Games, Olympians Terrence Jennings (Alexandria, Va.) and Paige McPherson (Sturgis, S.D.) led the field as the 2012 Senior Athletes of the Year. Logan Gerick (Keller, Texas) and Cheyenne Lewis (Elk Grove, Calif.) earned Male and Female Junior Athletes of the Year, respectively, Dennis Kim (Gainesville, Va.) took Coach of the Year, and Olympic official Myung Chan Kim (Columbia, S.C.) earned Referee of the Year honors.
“USA Taekwondo is proud to recognize these incredible individuals for all their success in 2012,” said USAT CEO Eric Parthen. “USA Taekwondo is built on the shoulders of great athletes, coaches and referees, and these recipients represent our membership well.”
First time Olympian Jennings captured the bronze medal in the men’s -68 kg division on a last-second three-point head shot to knock off Brazil’s Diogo Silva. Jennings earned the right to represent Team USA in London by knocking off 2008 silver medalist Mark Lopez (Sugar Land, Texas) 1-0 in the 2012 Olympic Team Trials.
McPherson also won Olympic bronze in a convincing 8-3 win against Slovenia’s Franka Anic in the women’s -67 kg division. Her victory lap around the mat capped off a year that also included defeating 2004 Olympic silver medalist Nia Abdallah (Houston, Texas) to earn her first Olympic berth at the 2012 Olympic Trials.
Gerick began the year by qualifying for Senior Team Trials in January and did not look back. As a Junior bantam weight, he was a 2012 U.S. Junior National Team Member and went undefeated at the 2012 Junior World Championships Open Team Trials and went on to represent Team USA in the 2012 Junior World Championships in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. A well-respected team member, Gerick was elected Team Captain at the U.S. Junior National Team Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Lewis competed in 10 tournaments in 2012 and compiled a record of 44-3 with a 475-86 point differential. She has never earned less than a silver medal since joining the 14-17 Juniors, nor has she lost a fight by more than one point. As a Junior feather and welterweight, Lewis took gold at the 2012 World Team Trials, the U.S. Open and USAT Nationals, among others.
Dennis Kim produced four Junior National Team members in 2012, including 2012 Junior World Championship Team member Brandon Ivey (Ashburn, Va.). Siwon Kim (Chantilly, Va.), Sohwon Kim (Chantilly, Va.) and Christian Yun (Ashburn, Va.) competed for Kim on the 2012 Junior National Team. Kim’s 14 athletes earned 10 medals at the 2012 National Championships in Dallas, Texas, which included five gold medals. Kim was appointed an honorary member to Kukkiwon’s advisory board.
M.C. Kim was selected to serve as referee at the 2012 London Olympics in May of 2012. In addition to the Olympic Games, Kim officiated many national and international events this year, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Team Trials, USAT National Championships, U.S. Cup, Pan American Championships and the World Cup. While travelling all over the world in pursuit of his goal, he was also able to continue to run his school, serve as President of the South Carolina Taekwondo Association and continue in his role as the Referee Chair for PATU.