One Metro Detroit family, 3 hurdlers, all headed to Rio

By Meaghan St Pierre - Producer

DETROIT - For Canton's Jeff Porter, his second Olympic games will be a business trip.

"Four years ago we had a good time, but we didn't compete as well as we wanted to," Porter said. "This time we're going back for some more redemption and getting some more hardware this time."

Porter qualified for the men's 110 meter hurdles race and is headed to Rio de Janeiro next week.   He competed in the same event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.

He is not going alone. His wife, hurdler Tiffany Porter and his sister-in-law Cindy Ofili have both qualified in the women's 100m hurdles for Great Britain.

"We're all excited. We're all trying to achieve this Olympic dream at the same time. So it's going to be fun. It's going to be a lot of fun," Porter said.

Porter is balancing his training with his studies at Eastern Michigan University where he is earning his PhD, he is also working at his alma mater the University of Michigan.

In fact, all three are proud Wolverines.

Each is focused on their own race and on supporting each other to achieve olympic greatness.

"We try to keep everybody grounded. we try to keep everyone focused on what we have to do and of course we're going to get to the village, we're going to enjoy the experience but when we step on the track it's all business," Porter said.

Jeff and Tiffany Porter have been married for six years and understand each other as spouses and international athletes.

"It's really cool to be honest. he's my biggest supporter and i'm his biggest supporter," Tiffany Porter said. "It really helps to have somebody in my career field that understands this crazy lifestyle that us athletes have."

"When I have a bad day at the track which happens as you can imagine. he knows kind of what to say to cheer me up and ways that we can fix a problem, which I think is invaluable, but at the same time he understands that we might need to kind of scale it back a little bit and just not talk about track at the dinner table," Tiffany Porter said.

Competitions often keep this racing couple apart, in fact, leading up to the Summer Olympics, Tiffany is training overseas while Jeff remains in the US.   The couple will be reunited in Rio.

"It's difficult. I don't really like when Tiffany's away from home for so long. I don't really like being away from her for so long, but these are kind of sacrifices that we have to make especially when she is competing for the British team and I'm competing for the USA," Porter said.

Ofili is following in her sister's footsteps, qualifying for her first Olympics.

"It's really a dream come true they're great atheltes and I just really want to achieve what they've done," Ofili said.

Ofili and Porter both represent Great Britian and they will be competing against each other.   They have Great Britain citizenship through their mother.

"I just love being able to stand next to her on the line and she pushes me in every way," Ofili said.

"She's my best friend and we've been close for 21 years since she's been here, so I think even though we are competitors, and when we are on that track we are fierce competitors and we both want to win," Tiffany Porter saidl. "But once we cross that line it's like OK, you're my sister again. I want to see her win."

Tiffany jokingly said years ago that the day her sister beats her is the day she retires, something she says no one will let her forget.

"I get reminded of that every single day and I never willlive that down," Tiffany Porter said.

"That’s my goal and I think she knows that now so she is realizing that she shouldn't have said that but we'll see how the future rolls," Ofili said.

Stay with Local 4 for all of your Olympic coverage.   Jeff and Tiffany Porter and Cindy Ofili are just a few of the Michigan athletes we’ll be tracking as the Summer Olympics get underway on August 5.

 

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