By Darci Miller | March 11, 2016, 5:35 p.m. (ET)


Paige McPherson earned a bronze medal in taekwondo at the London 2012 Olympic Games after a quarterfinal defeat forced her to advance to the medal round through the repechage. She will now have the opportunity to avenge her bronze and go for gold, as she has qualified for the final spot on the U.S. Olympic Taekwondo Team.

McPherson finished among the top two in the welterweight (-67 kg.) class at the Pan American Qualification Tournament to earn her Olympic berth. In the quarterfinals, she edged out a 1-0 win over Fabiola Escobar of El Salvador before winning her semifinal, 3-2, over Alexis Arnoldt of Argentina.

In Rio, McPherson will be competing in her second Olympic Games. She’s a two-time Pan American Games medalist – silver in 2011 and gold in 2015 – and won bronze at the 2015 world championships, ending a six-year U.S. medal drought at the event. McPherson, the 2012 USA Taekwondo Female Athlete of the Year, is currently ranked seventh in the world and 10th in the Olympic rankings.

As there are no other opportunities for taekwondo athletes to qualify, the four-person team is now complete. McPherson will be joined in Rio by heavyweight Jackie Galloway, welterweight Steven Lopez and heavyweight Stephen Lambdin.