By Karen Price | Sept. 21, 2018, 12:56 p.m. (ET)

Paige McPherson poses for a photo after winning gold at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix on Sept. 19, 2018 in Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei.

 

Olympic medalist Paige McPherson added another check mark in her impressive career by winning her first-ever World Taekwondo Grand Prix gold medal in the 67 kg. division at this week’s tournament in Taoyuan, Chinese Taipei.

McPherson’s performance was the U.S. highlight of the three-day tournament, which concluded on Friday and saw a number of top U.S. athletes competing. 

McPherson, 27, from Sturgis, South Dakota, won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games London 2012 but her previous best at a grand prix event was bronze, which she also won in London as well as Moscow in 2017. She has also twice medaled at the world championships, claiming bronze in 2015 and silver in 2017.

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McPherson had to fight some tough opponents to win her first gold, as well. She defeated Russia’s Polina Khan in the final bout and had to come from behind after Khan took a 6-2 lead. McPherson was still trailing in the final round, 7-5, but scored a body kick in the last 10 seconds to tie it and force overtime, where she was awarded the win on superiority. 

McPherson also beat Russia’s Yulia Turutina, Croatia’s Matea Jelic and the No. 1 seed, Hye-ri Oh, of South Korea, en route to the final match. McPherson led most of the semifinal match against Oh before holding up against a rally to come out with the victory. 

Also on day one, Jonathan Healy and Olympian Stephen Lambdin lost in the first round in the men’s 80+ kg. division.

On day two, Damian Villa lost in the opener in the men’s -58 kg. division, while Olympic bronze medalist Jackie Galloway and Madelynn Gorman-Shore both advanced to the Round of 16 in the women’s +67 kg. division before losing. 

On Friday, the third and final day of competition, Thomas Rahimi and Jaysen Ishida lost in their first matches in the men’s -80 kg. division.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.