KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) - As exciting it was for anyone to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony, it was especially exciting for one West Michigan family whose daughter is in London for her first shot at the gold.
Tia Brooks shattered East Kentwood High School and state records in the shot put as a student. This year, she won both indoor and outdoor NCAA championships.
Now, she's representing the USA in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Mother Cyd Neal glowed with excitement when she heard from her daughter in London on Friday, reminding Brooks that she'll eagerly be watching the television to see her.
"Flying overseas, never been out of the States in her life, so this is a big deal for her," said Neal.
Brooks, an East Kentwood High School grad, qualified for the Olympics in June.
Friends and family hoped to catch a glimpse of Tia during the Opening Ceremony.
"It's amazing, you know? I never would have guessed. But hey, it's here. I'm just waiting to see her perform," said her stepfather James Dockery.
Neal said she didn't go to London because she wants her daughter to succeed.
"In high school, all through Tia's competition, Tia would get nervous because she'd focus in on Mom. So I made it a point to stay home," said Neal.
They made a pact: Neal doesn't go to meets. They've only broken that pact once for the NCAA championships.
"She sees me, she turns around and trips and falls and sprains her ankle," recalled Neal.
Brooks won anyway, but Neal will still watch her in London from her couch in Kentwood, knowing she'll be just fine.
"Tia has trained long and hard for this," said Neal. "She's where she's supposed to be right now and I'm just so proud of her. I'm so proud of Tia."
Brooks still calls her mother before and after every meet, and she'll do the same from London.
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