Published 11:33 pm Friday, August 5, 2016

Inika McPherson wasn’t too hard to spot when the United States athletes marched into Maracana Stadium during the Parade of Nations on Friday night.

The 5-foot-4 Port Arthur native and high jumper walked on a front row full of athletes who didn’t try to hide their excitement for the 31st Summer Olympiad. McPherson, known for an independent sense of fashion, donned a backward navy blue Polo ballcap and sunglasses into a stadium overcast with the night sky. Swimmer Michael Phelps, wearing a jacket with the letters “USA” illuminating in the back, carried the American flag.

McPherson’s place among the U.S. contingents answered the wish of her coach at Lincoln High, Ora Smith, who said a week earlier at McPherson’s pep rally in Port Arthur she would need to walk in front because of her height.

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McPherson won a state championship as a freshman in 2002 for Lincoln in its final year of existence. She graduated from Memorial in 2005.

The women’s high jump begins Aug. 18.

— I.C. Murrell

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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