NORMAN — Tears filled Oklahoma athlete Tia Brooks' eyes Thursday as she recounted watching Sooner teammate Brittany Borman earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Brooks already had assured herself a trip to London with a third-place finish in the women's shot put at the U.S. Olympic Trials last week in Eugene, Ore.
Borman spoke of how nervous she was while watching Brooks compete.
“After I saw that she made it, I was emotionally drained,” Borman said on Thursday as OU's Olympics-bound athletes met the media. “We were hugging and crying. It was just unbelievable.”
For Brooks, the experience of watching her best friend, the woman for whom she will act as maid of honor following the Olympics, was nerve-wracking. She sat in the stands, hoping Borman would join her in London.
With one throw left in the meet, Borman needed to hurl her javelin farther than she'd thrown it before to hit the Olympic “A” qualifying standard to make the Olympic team — let alone win the trials.
She knew her dream of becoming an Olympian was at stake.
“It's always been my dream to go,” Borman said.
She stepped onto the runway with a javelin that OU track and field assistant Brian Blutreich's wife had blessed.
Lynda Lipson-Blutreich used the same javelin to win the Olympic Trials in 2000. It had sat in the Blutreichs' garage for 12 years before Borman threw it in competition this season.
“We kind of pulled it out and let it rip,” Blutreich said.
Borman pulled the javelin behind her ear, took her steps and launched it. When it left her hand, she said it felt like an easy 170-foot throw.
“I was just praying to stay calm and kind of let God take over,” Borman said.
When the javelin pierced the ground, it was measured at 201 feet, 9 inches — 1 foot, 8 inches past the “A” standard and nearly 7 feet past her previous personal best.
“I kind of heard the crowd cheer and it went wild, so I was like ‘It might have been all right,' ” Borman said.
Blutreich knew Borman had launched a brilliant throw when he saw her release it. He said it was probably the best throw he'd seen her take from a coaching standpoint.
“I knew it was far,” he said. “She hit that plant and throw — I knew it was a really good throw.”
Brooks set out to find Borman as soon as she realized she'd won the meet.
“I heard she took out the crowd,” Borman said.
Brooks said making the Olympic team didn't resonate with her until Borman had made it, too. She's excited about the opportunity to participate in the Olympics with her.
“To have one of your best friends going is really cool,” Brooks said.