When you get to know your neighbors, you may discover that they’ve done some truly remarkable things. If your West Chester neighbors are Tiffany and Jeff Porter, you may come to realize that the university administrator or local pharmacist that you thought you knew are actually lauded athletes who have competed in multiple Olympics in track and field.
Tiffany recalls that her track career truly started like so many of us start running.
“I would race my two older brothers in the street in Ypsilanti [Michigan] where I grew up. They went on to have college football careers,” she says. “So we’d race, but I was always just a little quicker than other people.”
Middle school and high school track honed Tiffany’s natural talent and after winning multiple major national awards for her skills, she accepted a scholarship to run track and field at University of Michigan.
Meanwhile, across the country in New Jersey, Jeff Porter was convinced that football was his path, and only a coach pointing out that he needed winter and spring sports to stay in shape pulled him over to the world of track.
“There’s something about the hurdle race that is addicting, and you want to get better at it, so I dedicated myself to the all-season training regimen, and I got good really quick,” says Jeff.
He also received a scholarship to the University of Michigan.
Their worlds collided Jeff’s junior year at Michigan when a new Freshman track star named Tiffany friended him on Facebook. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but the people around them just knew.
“She couldn’t stand me because she thought I was arrogant, but she was just a Freshman! She needed to know this was Jeff Porter’s track!” laughed Jeff.
“I wanted to know who this boisterous guy was!” says Tiffany. “My coaches saw us and said, ‘You’re going to marry that guy.’ We started dating my freshman year and we’ve been together pretty much ever since.”
Their relationship has carried them through many different seasons of life, from college to their professional careers where they were racing competitively in all the world’s major championships. Jeff competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics for the United States in 110- meter hurdles, and due to her dual citizenship, Tiffany competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics for Great Britain in 100-meter hurdles.
“I was content with what I’d accomplished on the track, and had mentally retired, and I was ready for a new chapter when my daughter was born in 2019,” says Tiffany. “But making the decision to come back to the track with Jeff’s support, it was like the icing on the cake, and it gave me a new perspective.”
Tiffany talked it over with Jeff, who was coaching Tiffany’s sister for the Tokyo Olympics at the time. Jeff agreed to coach Tiffany with their baby girl by their side.
“She has basically been raised at the track—there were feedings between workouts,” says Jeff. “She is Mommy’s biggest fan, and I tell Tiffany that you can show the world that having a baby doesn’t stop you from continuing to follow your dream.”
“This all contributed to me being able to get an Indoor Medal and then make the  Olympic team, while being one of the oldest people in the field and probably the only mother in the field,” says Tiffany.
As if this doesn’t sound like enough excitement, 2021 also saw Jeff finding a role at Miami University as Assistant Vice President of Development and Associate Athletic Director, and moving their family to Ohio, all around the same time as the trip to the delayed Tokyo Olympics. Tiffany, who works as a pharmacist, was also able to quickly find a role in West Chester.
The Porters are a clear sign that, behind any door in your neighborhood, there are people with fascinating stories and lives. If they live near you, you may recognize them because their little two-year-old, daughter of two Olympians in track and field, has a need for speed herself.
“She doesn’t walk! She just runs—full speed all the time,” says Jeff. “Turn your head once, and she’s gone, and if she’s excited, she’s even faster.”