Series08 Feb 2016

First impressions – Tiffany Porter


Tiffany Porter at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 (© Getty Images)

Tiffany Porter has won medals at the past two IAAF World Indoor Championships and she’ll be going for her third successive place on the 60m hurdles podium at this championship next month in Portland.

Great Britain’s European 100m hurdles champion is the next top athlete to answer our first impressions questions.

First childhood friend

I come from a close family with two older brothers, Frank and Alex. Growing up, I just wanted to be like them. I was a tomboy as a child and I used to play basketball with them. They were also very protective of me and my best friends.

First toy

I remember as a kid I had this really dirty pink bunny rabbit, which I took everywhere with me. I don’t recall its name now but I loved that pink bunny!

First race

It would have been sprint races on the streets of our apartment complex, when I was about six years old. All the kids in the area, including my brothers, used to join in. I often beat the boys my age. The races were a bit chaotic but great fun.

First sport played

Is dancing a sport? I would say, yes! I did ballet, tap and jazz from second grade all the way through to my sophomore year at high school. I don't think it had a direct influence on my track career but it probably helped my co-ordination and all-round agility. 

First coach

I started athletics at middle school but, because I was one of the faster kids, I used to train with the high school kids and two high school coaches, Thomas Micallef and Chris Jonik.

They made a big impact by taking me under their wing and helping pave the way for my future career. It was Tom, the head coach, who first suggested I try the hurdles. At the time I was a sprinter, but he said with my speed, athleticism and co-ordination I should switch events.

First overseas athletics trip

It was to the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing. It was a mind-blowing experience. I was mesmerised by the place, the culture, the people, the food, the climate.

To see people compete from all around the world was a really eye-opening experience. I won the bronze medal in the 100m hurdles (just 0.04 from the gold medal) and my experiences competing in Beijing certainly helped propel me forward for the rest of my career.

First media interview

It was while I was at high school at one of our state meets. I must have won the state title and I recall being interviewed by someone from the local newspaper. It was fun. I've always been pretty natural when I'm interviewed. It was cool to see the write-up afterwards.

First athletics disappointment

It came at my high school state champs in my junior year. I competed in the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, 100m and long jump, but I don’t think I won any of the four events. Why the disappointment resonates so much is because I was told about the importance of having a good junior year because that is when the colleges are really starting to look at recruiting their athletes for scholarships. I recall thinking after the meet “I’m never going to win a scholarship.”

First fashion disaster

The first one that comes to mind was during my freshman year at high school. I am naturally a risk-taker and I march to the beat of my own drum. I remember for a homecoming dance wearing a pink dress with a big bow complete with a long train.

At the time I thought it was the cutest dress, but looking back, I perhaps shouldn’t have worn it!

First thing you learned to cook

My mum taught me to make this pasta dish with mixed veggies, seasoning and chicken cooked with a little oil. It doesn’t have a name. It is like a Tiff creation, but it is my go-to dish.

First book that made you cry

I’m not much of a crier. I don’t think I’ve ever cried over a book.

First car

It was a maroon Ford Taurus. I bought the car from my brother who generously sold it to me for $3000, even though it worth a lot more. I recall saving up the money for a long time which included saving all the per-diem money I received from track meets to help buy the car. I bought the car during my sophomore year at college and I had it until I turned pro in 2009. I loved that car. It had a boombox system in the back with a fuzzy pink and black steering wheel cover.

Steve Landells for the IAAF