Rio 2016 Olympics, photo by World Athletics
Two Sisters in Tokyo, photo by European Athletics
2014 World Indoor Sopot, photo by Matin Bateman
Tiffany Porter, 2014 European Athletics Championships, gold medalist, 100m hurdles, photo by Martin Bateman
Tiffany Porter has announced her retirement. Stuart Weir, who has observed 80 plus of her races, wrote this piece about her retirement and considering her long and storied career.
Tiffany Porter retirement
Tiffany Porter has announced her retirement after an illustrious career. I first met her in 2011 and have been privileged to watch her 80+ times in the past 10 years, including three Olympics, four world championships, and so on. I last saw her in person in Tokyo.
Tiffany Porter, Beijing 2015, photo by World Athletics
In the first piece to mark her retirement, I want to recall her career in major championships. Let’s start with the nine medals:
2011 European Indoors silver
2012 World Indoors silver
2013 World Championship bronze
2014 World Indoors bronze
European Championship gold
2016 World Indoors bronze
European Championship bronze
2021 European Indoors bronze
There were also two near misses when she came 4th in the 2011 World Championships and fifth in 2015 when she led through the final hurdle before stumbling.
Tiffany Porter, 2014 Commonwealth Games, photo by British Athletics
Tiffany’s reactions to her performances reveal a great deal. She said of the fourth place in the 2011 Worlds, when a small error seemed to cost her a medal: “You can’t dwell on the past, I can’t rerun that race, I can just use it as motivation to push me forward in the future”. Similarly, her reaction to the 2015 World Championship fall: “I’m fine, it was a tough fall (at the end of the race), but I am okay. I’m going to have to go back and look at the race. I think I was in a good position, l but I just didn’t really execute my last couple of hurdles and that’s what happens in terms of athletics. I’m just going to grow from this, you have to brush yourself off and do better next time and I will be back next year stronger”.
Moscow 2013, photo by World Athletics
2014 was a busy summer when she followed a Commonwealth Games silver, behind Sally Pearson, with a European gold medal. She was delighted: “I’m thrilled to get my first gold medal – I’m at a loss for words! I’ve had medals before but not gold. At the beginning of the season, my aim was to win my first gold medal and I’m very happy I was able to achieve that and run a race that allowed me to do so”.
In 2016 she started with a World Indoor bronze, commenting “I am so happy and so pleased to win another medal, I had a horrendous qualifier and just did not want to make the same mistakes I made, so I am just so happy. Medals and running fast are the most important thing in our sport, so I am happy I was able to come away with another medal, I just hope I can build on this.”
She competed in three Olympics but never managed to quite do herself justice. In 2012, she was in great form. World Indoor medal and then got injured just before the London Games. Fourth in the semi-final was a good performance in the circumstances but it could have been so much better. In Rio 2016, she made the final and finished seventh, with sister Cindy fourth. Again, she saw all the positives: “I’m really proud of myself it’s been a really difficult year for me to be able to keep my composure in the final I’m proud of myself for that but more importantly, I’m really proud of how my sister handled herself today. It was a big relief – she and I are each other’s biggest competitors but at the same time each other’s biggest supporters so having her alongside me to experience this I think it’s a bit bittersweet now but I think we’ll appreciate it a lot more in the years to come. It’s the third time we’ve competed but it’s the first time she’s beaten me though! What can I say I did my best. She made me eat my words, I don’t think this is quite it for me yet, I’m really happy”.
2016 World Indoor Championships, Portland, Oregon, photo by World Athletics
By 2021, she was a mom but came back to run in the European Indoor Championships. She made the final but only just! What is it they say? When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Having been poor in qualifying for the final, she did the business when it mattered taking the bronze medal. The only bad news – or is it good news – was that she was behind her sister again! She commented: “It’s been a huge journey. I’m so pleased and I’m so grateful to be back. I’m running well. The first two rounds weren’t where I wanted to be, but I was like ‘you know what Tiffany, you’ve been here before, just execute a better race in the final, medals aren’t given in the first two rounds.'”
Cindy and Tiffany go silver, bronze at 2021 European Indoors, photo by European Athletics
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics – held in 2021 – proved to be her final championship. Competing in three Olympics, is a great achievement for anyone. She bowed out in the semi-final saying: “Obviously, I would have preferred for things to go differently but that’s sport and I’m definitely going to hold my head up high every day knowing that every day of my career I put my best foot forward and I did it with integrity, so I can definitely rest on that.”
Tiffany Porter has a new blog at https://tiffofili.com/blog/
In part 2 Tiffany reflects on her career.