A Chula Vista woman hopes to make history at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro by becoming the first woman ever to repeat as gold medalist in the long jump.
Brittney Reese, considered the world’s most dominant jumper of the past decade, trains with a rhythmic focus on the details, all in an effort to keep her jumping routine on track.
“It just goes so fast, once you’re in the air, next thing you worry about is landing, gotta bring my legs through, sweep my arms back, it’s a process in the long jump for sure,” said Reese with a chuckle. “So much to think about in so little time.”
But Reese’s life couldn’t look more different than it did four years ago when she took the top podium spot in London.
The 29-year-old phenomenon nearly disappeared from the spotlight between 2014 and 2015; skeptics wondered if she had finally come back down to earth. Turns out an undiagnosed hip injury caused the slide, not increasing age or declining talent.
After many months of rehabilitation focused on a healthy 2016 season building towards the Summer Olympics, Reese reminded the world in March that she is still a force to be feared.
She won another world championship, making her the first woman ever to record three indoor long jump world titles.
“Now I think my hip is exactly where it needs to be. No pain, I’m stronger than I’ve ever been since I’ve competed, I’m in better shape. I feel like this year and the years to come will be way better than my last two,” said Reese.
Perhaps her biggest life change of the past few years came when she decided to take another kind of leap: becoming a single mom. Reese adopted a little boy named Alex who was born to a good friend who couldn’t raise the child.
Finding a way to get the 8-year-old to and from school proved to be an impossible challenge for the working mom, who requires frequent international business trips to stadiums around the world. So Reese decided to home school him.
You will find her son on the bench next to the long jump pit during training sessions, playing with his iPad or practicing his spelling words.
He is also his mom’s biggest fan.
“He is a good motivator, he’s at the end of the runway saying ‘let’s go Brittney’,” said Reese.
Her track and field teammates and coaches have also taken an interest in Alex.
Some say it takes a village to raise a child. In this situation, it’s an Olympic village led by a mom with long legs and a huge heart.