Jeff Porter is a hurdler from Somerset. He attended Franklin High School and was the top American junior hurdler in 2002. He won the 110 m hurdles at the 2001 AAU Junior Olympics. He gained an athletic scholarship to study kinesiology at the University of Michigan. He’s making headlines this year by dramatically diving toward the finish line in order to make the Olympics. But, he’s probably used to his brother making the headlines. His brother, Joe Porter, played in the NFL from 2006 to 2011, most recently as an Oakland Raiders cornerback. World-class athletes really run in that family!
In his freshman indoor season at Michigan he won the Big Ten Conference title in the 60-meter hurdles and he was runner-up at that season’s Big Ten Outdoor meet. Porter came second at the 2006 Big Ten Indoor meet then placed fourth in the NCAA Indoor Championship with a personal record run of 7.77 seconds. He opened his outdoor season by improving his 110 m hurdles best to 13.93 seconds and he went on to win his first Big Ten Outdoor title. He continued to improve in his final year for the Ron Warhurst-coached Michigan Wolverines: he was runner-up in the 60 m hurdles at the Big Ten Indoors, but won his first NCAA title two weeks later with a personal record run of 7.64 seconds. He made large improvements outdoors, winning the Big Ten title in a best of 13.70 seconds. He ran a 110 m hurdles lifetime best of 13.57 seconds in the semi-finals of the NCAA Outdoors, but was a little slower in the final, finishing fourth. He made his debut at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships that year and reached the semi-finals.
Porter competed on the European track and field circuit for the first time in 2008 and at the Golden Spike Ostrava meet he ran a personal best of 13.47 seconds, but he did not carry this form to the United States Olympic Trials, where he was eliminated in the early stages. He ran 13.58 seconds in Ostrava the year after, but again failed at national level at the 2009 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. After competing a smaller European meeting he ended the season with a best of 13.37 seconds. He received his first national level honors at the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships in 2010 by taking the bronze medal in the 60 m hurdles with a personal record of 7.62 seconds. In spite of a quick start to the outdoor season – 13.45 seconds at the Osaka Grand Prix in May – he did not reach faster times in the rest of the year and was again eliminated in the rounds of the national championships.
He had a strong indoor season in Europe in 2011: he won the Guglindoor and Meeting Pas de Calais (setting a best of 7.57 at the latter), then placed top three at the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix and XL Galan. He also bettered his outdoor performances, running 13.34 in Montreuil and placing fifth in the final at the 2011 USA Championships with a best of 13.26 seconds. He won the Palio Citta della Quercia meet in September and a month later he represented his country for the first time at the 2011 Pan American Games, where he took fourth place. In light of his achievements, he received an elite athlete development grant from the USATF Foundation in February 2012.
The 2012 season began with another good indoor season for Porter, highlighted by a record run of 7.54 seconds to win at the BW-Bank Meeting in Karlsruhe. He dipped under 13.3 seconds for the 110 m hurdles at the Golden Spike Ostrava meet, finishing behind Dexter Faulk with a run of 13.29. His wife, Tiffany Porter, won the women’s hurdles race at that meet. Jeff ran 13.26 in June to reach his first Diamond League podium at the New York’s Adidas Grand Prix, being beaten only by world champion Jason Richardson.
His upward trend continued at the 2012 United States Olympic Trials, where he ran 13.19 in the semi-finals, then got the third Olympic spot in the final in a personal record time of 13.08 seconds by diving toward the finish line past other competitors. He was a surprise addition to the American Olympic squad, beating highly ranked hurdlers including David Oliver.
We can watch Jeff begin competition in the 110m hurdles on August 7th and we hope to see him in the finals later that same day. Good luck, Jeff!
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