GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - When Tia Brooks was a freshman at East Kentwood High School, she had a heart-to-heart conversation with her mother that put her on the road to the Olympics.
It was a path Tia resisted. But the Olympic rings on the door of her family's Kentwood home tell everyone she's headed to London in the shot put -- and proves that sometimes coaches and parents actually know what they're talking about.
Some athletes are destined for greatness, said East Kentwood head coach Stephanie Stephenson. "That was one of the things I said to her. She has the physical gifts and the ability to be an Olympian, and I don't say that every day to kids."
But before Brooks could get on her path to greatness, she had to be convinced to get on the right path.
"I didn't really want to throw the shot put," Brooks told 24 Hour News 8. "I didn't want to be the stereotypical thrower -- the big girl who didn't run and wasn't athletic."
John Mackinen, who coached her on how to throw the shot, saw her potential. "Stubborn is probably a really good word to use," he said. "She wanted to run, and she could run. But she could really throw."
Her mother, Cyd Neal, was able to get through to her.
"It took Tia a minute," she said. "She cried and boo hoo'd and threatened to quit."
Eventually Brooks relented and the medals in her family's home are proof she made the right choice. Her mother said, "She was putting her best foot forward and was breaking records left and right."
Tia Brooks shattered school and state records in the shot put, and she won the Division One state championship during her senior year.
She earned a scholarship to Oklahoma, where she's flourished. This year she won both the indoor and outdoor NCAA championships.
Then in June, she made a prophet of her high school coach, earning an Olympic spot on her last throw at the Olympic trials.
"You talk about it and you dream about it," she said. "To actually happen is kind of surreal. I'm still waiting for everything to set in."
She'll have time to get settled in London. The women's shot put competition is set for August 6, 2012.
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