Point of view: It’s a gloriously sunny day. Not too hot where I’m dripping sweat and my forehead shines from a mile away, but warm enough where the sun just kisses my shoulders and the light breeze fills my lungs refreshingly. I’m waiting at the crosswalk in the city, any city, and a young Brown girl and her mother walk up beside me. I look down at her and she stares up at my big, full, kinky, curly ‘fro in awe. I smile and feel a mixture of badassery and warmth.
My hair has always meant more to me than…
I had just competed in the qualifying rounds of the women's triple jump at the Tokyo Olympics. The auto-qualifying mark wasn’t one that I couldn’t have easily done any other year, yet on this day, I was far from it.
No one pursues a dream for a decade and expects to fall short. No one continues to push through adversity, challenge after challenge, entertaining the possibility of losing. Especially when their performance is so far below their capabilities.
After the competition, I walked past the media stations without being asked to stop, save for one woman at the very end…
Ever since I’ve made the Olympic team I’ve had multiple interviews with various magazines, news stations, etc. Eventually, they all come around to the same question.
Interviewers Everywhere: “So, Black person in America, how does it feel to be representing the United States in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics?”
Me, a black person: *Stares as a million thoughts rush through my mind about social injustice, racism, and representing a country where a portion of the people still wants to see me hanged*
Interviewers Everywhere: *Smiles with excitement*
What DOES it mean to me to represent the “great” country of America? The…
We track and field athletes need better, fairer testing protocols
Sha’Carri Richardson’s failed drug test is at the top of everyone’s mind at the moment. Which is amazing! I have never seen A-list celebrities and politicians support a track athlete the way they are right now… it’s honestly wild.
By now, many know she ingested marijuana at the Olympic Trials as a coping mechanism after finding out about the passing of her biological mother. Marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug, and if it were found in her system during a random test at her home it wouldn’t have been a…
As a competitive track and field athlete, I used to look in the mirror and not recognize what I saw looking back at me. My reflection wasn’t the kind, goofy Tori that many have come to know.
My eyes were hard and unwavering. My demeanor unmoved and unbothered. Tangled deep energy sat in my chest waiting to erupt, wanting to scream and smash the mirror with myfists.
This was my beast self. An uncivilized, irrational animal maneuvering strictly on survival instincts.
The self that didn’t give a damn what people thought. The self that fought the status quo. …
Some days I go into training drained, sore, and with the recurring thought, “I don’t feel like doing this.”
Whether it's Monday, HumpDay, or the last day of the workweek, we all have these thoughts from time to time.
Some people think like this every day because they aren’t working with a goal in mind. Or they aren’t in a field that they’re passionate about, so they really DON’T feel like doing what they’re doing.
As a professional athlete, I should be engaged every day and excited to train, but the reality is, I’m not.
When I go into training…
Clouds rolled past the airplane window as we began our descent back to Detroit. I pulled my phone from my pocket to see if we were low enough to get reception. As I unlocked it, my phone buzzed with Twitter notifications, “Women’s Triple Jump American Record, Previously Held by Tori Franklin, BROKEN!”
I flared up like pinecones in a fire.“Okaaayy,” I thought to myself. My lips tightened and my inner lioness bellowed a dominating, territory-enforcing roar. I was on an airplane, but I wanted to go straight to practice. I would’ve stood up and started doing triple jump technique drills…
Black bodies beaten.
Black bodies punched and kicked
Black bodies tased.
Black bodies pulled and dragged.
Black bodies thrown to the ground, against the wall, across the classroom.
Black bodies taken.
Black bodies gone missing.
Black bodies shot.
Black bodies locked up.
Black bodies pinned down.
Black bodies strung up.
Black bodies raped and molested.
Black bodies stabbed and suffocated.
Black bodies murdered.
Black bodies dead
All on social media. All at the swipe of a finger. All for the eyes of millions to glaze over and become desensitized to. How many other races have to see people…
Any other year I would have been on a track in Morocco, in Paris, or maybe even in Switzerland, orchestrating a crowd of fifty thousand people to clap together to watch me do something amazing. But with times as they are, my career has changed in ways I never could have imagined.
*Cue…me 😊* Hi, I’m Tori, Nike sponsored track and field professional athlete. Yes, we exist. Track and field is indeed a pro sport. You’ve seen us in the Olympics, but that’s not the only time we compete. I do triple jump. No, not the one with the pole…