Jan. 26, 2012
By Andrew Gilman | SoonerSports.com
NORMAN, Okla. -- There was a sore hamstring from an injury a few weeks earlier. There was also some stitches from another previous injury. There was a series of bad practices, too.
Then there were the nerves. Lots of nerves. Nerves where there had never been nerves before. "Super nervous," said Tia Brooks. "I don't what it was."
Not exactly the kind of combination that leads to a record throw.
|Razorback Invitational | Friday-Saurday, Jan. 27-28 | Meet Preview | Brooks Has Record Day|
But that's exactly what Brooks did. The OU junior turned a mixture of bad vibes, bad injuries and bad nerves into an Olympic qualifying throw in the shot put last week at the J.D. Martin Invitational in Norman.
"It was a weird experience," Brooks said. "Weird because it felt effortless."
Whatever it was turned into an American-leading throw of 60 feet, 8 inches, immediately qualifying Brooks for this summer's Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. In addition to setting an OU record, the throw was the third-best mark in the world this year and made her the fifth-best performer all-time in NCAA history.
"I was hurt," Brooks said. "I never would have anticipated any of it. I was putting pressure on myself, too, and I don't know why."
Maybe Brooks didn't think she was poised for greatness but now she can anticipate heading to the Olympic Trials and possibly the Summer Olympics in London.
"The Olympics have always been in the plan," Brooks said. "My coaches and I have talked about it with me having the potential, but to see it unfold is insane. It's always been a dream to go to the Olympics.''
Brooks, a junior from Grand Rapids, Mich., was an All-American the past two seasons as well as All-Big 12 in the indoor and outdoor seasons. She won the indoor championship last season and was fifth at the USA Track and Field Championships last summer.
All of that and still Brooks says she's not technically sound yet.
"I'm seeing the potential," she said. "Practices have been amazing lately and I'm kind of freaking out because I'm doing the right stuff now. It's becoming effortless."