Did you know Tiffany Porter used to throw down serious shapes as a cheerleader before becoming one of the world’s best hurdlers? Well, here’s some more fun facts.
1. I was a cheerleader
“I was a school cheerleader from the age of 12 or 13 all the way through to my final year at high school. I loved cheerleading and, for a time, loved it more than athletics. I took it very seriously. I embraced the femininity of cheerleading. Sometimes as athletes we are expected to be rough and tough but that is not the case. There is strength and beauty in being a woman.
“I was naturally very athletic, so I was able to do the jumps and the toe touches just fine. But I was not the one on top of the pyramids – I was too heavy and tall.
“In the end, I was just that bit better at athletics, so that is why I decided to pursue a career in the sport. If I was to pick any track and field athletes to join me on a cheerleading team, I would choose the Norwegian sprinter [two-time European indoor 60m medallist] Ezinne Okparaebo because she is that super-energetic person you associate with cheerleading. I’d also choose my sister, Cindy Ofili [2015 world champs semi-finalist] because of her rhythm and dancing ability.”
2. I hated my future husband at first
“I was 17 when I met my future husband [US hurdler Jeff Porter] when he was aged 19 at the University of Michigan. To be honest, I hated him at first. I thought he was arrogant, loud and boisterous. We used to do 300m time trials and he’d be running through the finish line with his finger pointed in the air. It was my college coaches at the time who observed ‘one day you will marry that man’ and I was like, ‘no way, I can’t stand that man’.
“But over time, I thought he perhaps wasn’t so arrogant and because his college room-mate was dating my college room-mate we used to go out a lot together and we got to know each other better. We officially became boyfriend and girlfriend during that first indoor season together. Since then for the past decade he has been a huge inspiration in my life.”
3. I have an incredible sense of smell
“I have a very strong nose – my husband calls it ‘the nose of a dog’. I can walk in any building and instantly know the smells and where they are coming from! I am obsessed with everything smelling good whether that is body spray, perfumes or scented candles. I have a particular thing for scented candles. In fact, I asked my mum at Christmas not to get me clothes or make-up but scented candles. I have three lying around the house right now and a stash of about six more in the cupboard.
“I always like to try a new perfume every time I go through duty free. My favourites are Si by Giorgio Armani and The One by Dolce and Gabbana. I tend to switch between the two.”