OU track and field: Two Sooners prepare for 2012 Olympic Trials
Oklahoma track teammates junior Tia Brooks and senior Brittany Borman like to do things in pairs.
Both student-athletes won national championships in their respective events during the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships earlier this month — Brooks in shot put and Borman in javelin — and both helped lead the Sooners to a seventh-overall ranking this season, earning 10 points apiece to apply to the team's total point count during the competition.
Both titles also were historical firsts for the OU program as Brooks became the first Sooner to win an outdoor championship in shot put while Borman repeated as the national champion for the second consecutive year to become the first Sooner to win back-to-back titles at the outdoor nationals.
And now the teammates — and roommates — will tackle one more feat together in the next two weeks: training together to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials held at the end of June in Eugene, Ore.
"It's nerve-racking, but we're excited to make something happen," Brooks said. "But we're around each other every day, so we know what we both have to do in order to succeed."
While both athletes said participating in the Olympics has always been a goal, the duo admit that there's a substantial amount of added pressure on them this month compared to past summer workouts.
"We try to keep things the same, but there's just so much more pressure this time," Brooks said. "I still lift the same, throw the same, prepare the same way, but this summer I just feel more expected out of us."
And both women will have to overcome their own obstacles individually during the upcoming competition.
Brooks — who already has qualified to compete for the USA Olympic team by obtaining an A standard with her 62-foot-4-inch throw earlier this year — will need to out-throw just one participant in the upcoming trials in order to earn a plane ticket to the 2012 London Olympic games.
While obtaining the A standard is the first step to securing a spot on the USA roster, Brooks will have to get mentally prepared to throw on back-to-back days, something different from her usual throwing habits at the collegiate level.
"At the trials, I have prelims one day and then the finals the next day, but I'm used to throwing one day and then rest the next," Brooks said. "So next week, I'm going to throw two days in a row just so I can get the feel for what it will be like."
Borman on the other hand will need to achieve the A standard of 200 feet in the upcoming javelin trials before being able to punch her ticket to the the games across the pond. Her longest throw currently stands at 194-feet, 11-inches.
"I'm ranked third right now, but will need to make the standard before I actually get to compete in the Olympics," Borman said. "I'm going to focus on that in practice these next two weeks and work on my strength training."
The one factor that Brooks and Borman both said will help them tremendously in getting over their individual obstacles is being able to meet every day with the OU coaching staff.
"It's a lot different now because there's only three of us left, so we get to spend more one-on-one time with [OU coach Brian Blutreich]," Borman said. "He can help us prepare for our individual events."
No female member of the OU track team has ever brought a gold medal back to Norman, but Brooks and Borman said they're anxious to go out and represent the Sooners for a place on this year's U.S. Olympic team because that's the goal both athletes wanted to pursue at the university.
And having that opportunity to get to the international stage is all the motivation these athletes said they need going into the upcoming trials.
"It's been all of our dreams to try out for the Olympics," Borman said. "And that just gets us more fired up at practice."