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.


Paige McPherson
Hannah Johnston/Getty Images

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.


Paige McPherson
Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
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.

More From KSOO-AM / ESPN Sioux Falls