DENVER (CBS4)– Lance Brooks may not be an Olympic figure as well known as Missy Franklin or Tyler Phinney but he’s hoping all of Colorado will know his name after the London Games.
He qualified in the discus in late June and practices his sport at Arapahoe High School in a deserted field.
“It’s a lot of hard work, it’s a lot of dedication. It’s not something you can take lightly. It’s not something that just happens overnight.”
Brooks knows just how much work it takes. He picked up his first discus in junior high at a school that didn’t even have a track team.
His parents helped him past that first hurdle, heading to the school board.
“My family went to the board and basically said, “Recognize Lance as the track team and we’ll pay for everything.’ That pretty much started my track career.”
Over the years, Brooks improved and grew but like anyone who grows up, Brooks also acquired grown-up bills, throwing the discus is not exactly an income-generating sport.
“Make a lot of money? Yeah, we don’t.”
That meant finding a job, or in Brooks’ case, seven of them.
“I was working at Grease Monkey, I was bartending and bouncing at three bars, I was coaching Cherry Creek High School. I was in jobs all over. I was working for Complete Caulking and Restoration. I don’t know how I did it.”
But Brooks did do it, throwing himself into training especially in the last year.
It’s paying off 14 years after he picked up that first discus. He had six tries to qualify during the US Track and Field Trials. It came down to his last throw. He needed a throw that was 213 feet, three inches or better.
“My last throw was probably the most important throw of my life, my career thus far,” he said. “It was do or die.”
That throw was 213 feet and almost nine inches.
What Brooks didn’t know was, he had to more than win the event, he had to hit a minimum distance.
“I felt kind of dumb in a way but honestly, I thought it was probably the best thing. If I would had known that it would have been tough to come through like I did. The distance flashed up on the screen and I couldn’t have been any happier. It was literally a Cinderella story. You couldn’t have wrote any better, you couldn’t have.”
It will take another fairy tale dose for Brooks to end up on the podium. He’s currently ranked 24th in the world, but never rule out a fairy godmother granting an Olympic-sized wish.