The Olympic Games are coming up this summer in Rio, and Team USA has been announced with two of the top women in Taekwondo. It’s exciting to see Paige McPherson and Jacqueline Galloway ready to compete for the gold! Women and girls participate in competitive Taekwondo at every weight level, and at every age, from Poomsae National Team member Erica Linthorst born in 1947, to the middle-school students on the Cadet National Team. There are people who think that girls don’t do “real” martial arts, and I’d like to take the time to show them that they’re wrong. Women and girls are at every level in martial arts and in Taekwondo, kicking butt and busting up the stereotype!
US Olympic Team
- Paige McPherson: Welterweight “McFierce” took her first bronze medal at the Junior Olympics in 2002 since then her career has been punctuated with bronze, gold, and silver medals for a variety of competitions such as the Pan Am championships, the US senior nationals, and the 2012 Olympic Games.
- Jacqueline Galloway: Jacqueline Galloway took her first bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in 2012. Since that time she has competed in key contests that the Pan Am championships the world Taekwondo championships Pan-American games and placed fourth in the world Taekwondo Federation world Grand Prix final.
Also representing Taekwondo is the Senior National Team, and though we’re not listing all the members, you should definitely go to the site and look up every one of them:
- Kelsey Junious: Kelly Junius joined Team USA as a member of the Junior National Team in 2011, but prior to that she was far from being a newcomer competing in the Junior Olympics and taking home bronzes, silvers and golds as early as 2008.
- Charlotte Craig: Charlotte Craig first competed as a junior Olympian in 2000 taking home a bronze as a finalist. Since then she has competed and taken home medals in the Pan Am championships, the U.S. Open, and became a member of the US national team in 2010.
- Cheyenne Lewis: Cheyenne Lewis is a longtime member of the Junior National Team, and became a member of the senior national team in 2013
- Lauren Hamon: After taking a bronze in the Junior Olympics in 2001, she came back in 2002 and took a gold. A US national team member since 2005, she’s a local girl attending the University of Miami.
When you look at the other National teams, you’ll see an amazing cast of women and girls from women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, to girls still in middle and high school. I would challenge anyone to tell them that what they are doing is not real Taekwondo. It makes me proud and happy to see the pride they take in representing Taekwondo to the world along with other athletes and Olympians and I wish them all the best in Rio this year, and for the rest of their careers.