Tiffany Porter, in Staten Island (Ocean Breeze Track & Field Facility)
Tiffany Porter has just retired. Stuart Weir spoke with her about her decision to retire and her career. This is part 2 of the Tiffany Porter.
Tiffany Porter reflects on retirement and life after hurdles
Tiffany Porter has announced her retirement after an illustrious career, a career that brought her British records (indoor and outdoor), three World Indoor medals, a World Outdoor medal, European Indoor and Outdoor medals, and a Commonwealth Games medal. She ran in three Olympics including one Olympic final. The Tokyo Olympics in 2021 were her last major championship. So why choose now to pull the curtain down?
“I definitely wanted to experience another Olympic Games – of course, we all thought it was going to be in 2020”, she told me. “But life happened and it got postponed by one year. My husband/coach made the determination to do one more year and give it a shot. I qualified, went there and it was a great experience.
Tiffany Porter, photo by British Athletics Collection/Getty Images
Afterward, I was at a crossroads: do I want to continue on with this athlete journey, or am I am more interested in exploring other things and other interests that I have nurtured throughout my career? Ultimately, I chose the latter and it just seemed the right time. I did it on my terms. I did not feel I was pushed out by injury, lack of support, or anything like that. It seemed a perfect time. I did a little bit of self-reflection, prayed about it and it was just the perfect time”.
When an athlete retires, the normal question is what are you going to do now? With Tiff, the question is more how did no fit athletics into a life full of pharmacy, business interests, and being a wife and mother? “As an athlete, I think it’s important to understand that you cannot attain the level of success that I was fortunate to attain without being 100% fully committed. So I definitely consider myself as having been a full-time athlete but just with a great support team and that allowed me to do other things at the same time. But yes, I definitely have a lot of other interests and, as you know, I am a practicing pharmacist and I am a real estate investor. Now add blogger to my resume. Digital content creator. So I do have a lot of other things that I am interested in, but I do believe that I gave 100% to track when I was in it.
Tiffany Porter, photo by British Athletics Collection / Getty Images
“I am very passionate about pharmacy and it’s a perfect career for me to put all my different interests and talents and strengths to work to serve others. Growing up, I always liked science and I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare profession. I genuinely love helping people. I’m a people person and I love interacting with people. I am extroverted. So pharmacy was such a great fit for me. I knew I wanted to go into a profession that allowed me to have time outside of work because I’m very family-oriented and I knew I wanted to spend a lot of time with my husband and children. Pharmacy is an incredible profession because it allows you to work part-time which is the reason why I was able to run and practice pharmacy at the same time.
“There’s a lot of job stability in the US in pharmacy and we are genuinely valued members of the healthcare team – the drug experts, the ones people come to and trust. It’s just a perfect fit for me and I’ve always been very passionate about it. One of the pillars of the content that I put out now is dispelling some of the myths about what pharmacists do as well as educating people about all that pharmacy can offer because lots of people genuinely don’t know. So I’m using the platform of my voice to raise awareness about the profession”.
Tiffany Porter and Cindy Ofili, 2021 British Outdoor Championships, photo by British Athletics/ Getty Images
Winning medals over an eleven-year span is impressive, what is the secret of that longevity: “That is a very layered question, or rather I have a very layered answer. A couple of things immediately. There’s no way that I could have run track this long without God saying ‘this is what you were meant to do’. There are people who run faster than me in college but only had a two or three-year career and equally people who ran slower than me in college, who went on to do great things. So I think it’s just that God said ‘this is what you are meant to do’. Another huge part of it is having an incredible team. My husband, my family my nanny – so many people who pour into you and genuinely want to see you succeed. That goes such a long way. Sometimes people don’t appreciate what goes on behind an athlete’s success. Coaches, obviously, trainers, massage therapists.
A lot of it has to do with staying injury-free. I’ve never had the catastrophic injuries that some athletes experience and have been able to build every year – to build and build and build. And that mental toughness to be able to say ‘OK I had a poor race last time but this is a new opportunity. Let’s line up and let’s go to. Who wants it more?’ That is a layered answer because there are so many things that contributed to it. And also just the love of the sport because I am genuinely a fan of athletics. I loved it when I was young and I still love it now in retirement. I love watching it and I love studying it. I think all of that contributed to my longevity”.
Tiffany Porter and Cindy Ofili took silver and bronze, 2021 European Indoor Athletics Championships, photo by European Athletics
Two new things in retirement are the blog and announcing. At the recent Staten Island meet she was doing the on-field presentation, interviewing athletes as they finished for the crowd -asking the questions and getting the crowd excited and riled up. It was a really cool experience”.
Tiffany Porter has a new blog at https://tiffofili.com/blog/