OU's Brooks, Borman thrilled to be Olympic teammates
When Brittany Borman collected the "A" standard to earn a spot on the 2012 Olympic team, no one was happier — and more relieved — than Tia Brooks.
Brooks already secured her trip to the Olympics with a third-place finish in the women's shot put, but if Borman was going to join her OU track and field team member in London, she would have to throw the javelin farther than she ever had.
And Borman only had one chance left: the final javelin throw of the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.
Brooks anxiously sat in the stands with her teammate's family as Borman stepped up and launched a 201-foot, 9-inch throw — 1 foot, 8 inches past the "A" standard.
Borman, who exhausted her college eligibility this spring, eclipsed her previous personal best by nearly 7 feet to not only qualify for the Olympic team, but also to win the women's javelin event.
“We were watching from the bleachers, and when she got past the mark, I screamed and just ran down to greet her," said Brooks, junior shot put thrower. “It’s just so exciting to know that you will not only have your teammate with you going to the Olympics, but my best friend is also going to be with me.”
As teammates during the past three years, Borman and Brooks have been inseparable both on and off the field. So close, in fact, that Brooks will serve as Borman's maid of honor after the Olympics.
"We've been through everything together," Borman said. "To be able to go with Tia is indescribable because we've made this journey together and we've been side by side training these last three years."
While at OU, the duo has shared success together. This past season, Brooks won the indoor and outdoor NCAA shot put national titles while Borman claimed the javelin championship. Together, they have four national titles, seven Big 12 titles and eight All-America honors.
And now Borman and Brooks can add a trip to the 2012 Olympics to their résumés.
Although the 2012 games will be the first time for the athletes to compete on the highest level — and Brooks' first trip out of the country — both participants say they are at ease knowing they won't be facing the best throwers in the world alone.
"Even though I'm going to be in London, she's always going to be a familiar face at practice like she has been all year," Brooks said.
That calming factor is something the will be important when the athletes make their journey to London, OU throwing coach Brian Blutreich said.
Blutreich, who is a former Olympic discus thrower, has coached three previous Olympic throwers and helped train his wife, Lynda Lipson-Blutreich, in the 2000 Olympics.
Mentally, Brooks and Borman will be able to lean on each other as they focus on their performance, Blutreich said.
"They have to get over the 'oh-my-gosh' factor of the Olympics and not let the outside pressures get to them," Blutreich said. "The only time they have seen this type of competition is on tape when we are trying to show them certain techniques.
"Now they're going to have to compete against these same people."
But Borman and Brooks said they have already decided to treat these games like another competition and to continue doing everything they have all year long.
"We've been told to just have fun and hopefully we get to see some of the other Olympic competitions while we're over there," Brooks said. "But having Brittany by my side means nothing has changed from all the other meets we've been to."