Three Rio-Bound Texans Share Their Love of Taekwondo

“It just means that I was able to find a way to pursue my dreams.”

By Alex Daily & Leah ScarpelliJuly 14, 2016 11:22 am|

Paige McPherson, Stephen Lambdin, and Jackie Galloway are all Rio-bound members of the USA Taekwondo team – and they’re all from different parts of Texas. As they prepare to head south for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, they told the Standard a little about why the sport is so important and how they got started.

McPherson says her family experience as an adopted child is what made taekwondo feel like home.

“When I started taekwondo it was very, very similar,” she says. “Even though we were from different families, we were a family at the same time.”

She doesn’t take the title of Olympian lightly.

“For me to say that I am an ‘Olympian’ – I don’t think I understand the magnitude of that word. It doesn’t necessarily mean I have a status, it just means that I was able to find a way to pursue my dreams.”

Lambdin says his inspiration came from his favorite television show: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

“I originally started taekwondo when I was 6 years old, (classes were) a sixth birthday present,” he says.

He says what kept him in it was the competitive nature of the sport.

“If you’re not doing something right, somebody pops you in the face, and you know pretty quick that you need to change the game plan,” Lambdin says.

Galloway says people don’t believe her at first when she says she does taekwondo.

“I usually have to show them a video – I guess my personality doesn’t match the intensity of a combat sport.”

When asked why taekwondo is her sport of choice, she has a pretty simple answer.

“I’m in love with taekwondo,” Galloway says. “And when you’re in love with something you don’t need more of an explanation than that.”

Listen to all their stories in the audio player above.