Metro Detroit hurdler returns to Olympics after becoming a mother

Tiffany Porter competing in 3rd Olympic Games

Metro Detroit hurdler returns to Olympics after becoming a mother

Tiffany Porter has had an 11-year track and field career -- from high school to the University of Michigan to around the world.

At first, it was about being the fastest, the strongest, the first across the line. But that has since changed.

“My husband and I knew after the 2016 Rio Olympics that we wanted to start growing our family,” she said. “I went into that knowing that I may not ever get back to my elite athlete status ever again.”

More: Sisters, former University of Michigan runners to represent Team Great Britain at Tokyo Olympics

In 2019, her daughter Chidera was born. Her husband Jeff Porter is a former U.S. Olympian and her current coach.

After “Chi Chi” was born, Tiffany Porter found that she still had the itch to compete.

“I remember being three months postpartum and they were at the World Championships in Doha in 2019, and me thinking all these incredible mommies who came back and ran like the best performances gave me that inspiration to just try it and see how things happen,” she said.

Although there were long days and tough training schedules, Tiffany is in the best shape of her life at 33 years old.

“Practicing until March 2020 and COVID hit, which in a grand scheme of things, was a blessing in disguise because it gave us another year to prepare. A year later, she’s one of the top ten hurdlers in the world by time,” said Jeff Porter.

Local 4 caught up with Porter and her sister Cindy Sember in June in Northville. They have since qualified for the Tokyo Olympics competing for Great Britain. It will be Tiffany Porter’s third Olympic Games, but it won’t be like the others.

“Since becoming a mom, my perspective has shifted, arguably, for the better if you ask me. She definitely helps me to just stay grounded. And if I have a fantastic session, that’s great, on to the next. If I have a bad session, learn from it, on to the next,” she said. “I’m putting all of my efforts into being the best athlete that I can be. But it’s not life or death, I think it does help to relieve some of pressure for me.”

Jeff Porter said Tiffany is an inspiration to Chidera.

“Since before she could crawl, she’s been at the track watching mommy practice. Tiffany is a fantastic role model,” he said.

Tiffany Porter said she’s not the first Olympian to also be called “Mom” and she won’t be the last.

“Serena Williams, Allyson Felix, Nia Ali, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, the list goes on and on. There’s so many women who are doing so many incredible things that if I can inspire anybody to get out there and put their best foot forward, and whatever way that looks like for them, then I’m happy to help be that person,” she said.

About the Author:

Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.