2024 Paris Olympics

‘Mom made me do it': Spring Valley discus thrower vying for spot in 2024 Paris Olympics

Laulauga Tausaga-Collins enters Team USA's Track & Field Olympic Trials as the defending world champion in the discus

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When Laulauga Tausaga-Collins, who goes by "Lagi", convinced her mom to send her to Mount Miguel High School at the start of her freshman year so she could hang out with her cousins, it came with a non-negotiable requirement: play a high school sport.

Tausaga-Collins played indoor volleyball and basketball but hated all of the running.

By the spring of her freshman year, however, she would find a perfect fit in track and field.

"I sat with the head coach at the time and I was like 'I'm not running' and he goes 'Don't worry, you want to throw?'" said Tausaga-Collins.

Turns out the frisbee-shaped 2 1/2 pound discus would open doors across the country and eventually around the world.

Tausaga-Collins set the San Diego Section record and earned a scholarship to the University of Iowa where she excelled as one of the best collegiate throwers in the nation.

She eventually returned home to Spring Valley as a professional athlete who now trains full-time at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center.

Tausaga-Collins, who is the only elite thrower at the facility, works with a coach based out of Northern California, which means, aside from her Facetime calls during training, she spends a lot of alone time in the facility's field which is set aside for throwing events.

With the USA Track & Field Olympic Trials closing in, Tausaga-Collins will need to make the top 3, or the medal stand, to earn a trip to Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Unlike previous competitions, she won't be able to show up flying "under the radar" either.

Tausaga-Collins is the defending world champion in the discus after a surprising top finish in Budapest, Hungary, at the World Athletics Championships.

The victory came as a surprise to many track and field enthusiasts and Tausaga-Collins says it came as a shock to her as well.

"Everybody's like 'Oh, my gosh, this is insane' and I was like 'You think it's insane? I think it's insane,'" said Tausaga-Collins.

Her main goal is to make the Olympic team, which is no easy task given the depth of talent among American throwers.

While Tausaga-Collins has been the one to put in all of the hard work to get to this point, she'll always have her mom to thank for "making her" play sports.

5 Things To Know About Lagi Tausaga-Collins:

  1. She was born in Hawaii and moved to San Diego's Southbay as a child
  2. Is an offroad enthusiast who enjoys driving her 4-wheel drive Jeep in San Diego's backcountry
  3. Is the daughter of a Samoan mother and an African-American father
  4. Says her name means "sky" or "heaven" in Samoa
  5. Became the first American woman to win a world championship in the discus with a personal record of 69.49 meters (more than 3/4 of a football field)
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