Biography

When I was young, I was a total tomboy complete with competing against my brothers in all sports whether I was playing football, snow skiing or being the first girl in little league baseball in California. I had an eighth grade P.E. teacher who told me “don’t ever become a high jumper because you’ll never be any good”.  I was diagnosed as a “hyperactive and dyslexic” child who caused my parents all kinds of grief.

I was a three sport athlete (diving, soccer and track) at Menlo Atherton High School in California. I placed fourth in the State Championships my senior year jumping a best of 5′ 9 1/4″. Even though I was awarded Athlete of the Year for Northern California in 1980, I received no college scholarship offers.

1988 Olympic Trials

1988 Olympic Trials

I competed for the University of Oregon my freshman and junior year, and gained way too much weight to high jump well. In fact, there were a few occasions I was mistaken for a shot putter; they are not known for being tall and thin.

I left the number one college team in the nation to train for the heptathlon (seven events). In 1986 I finally started having some success. I traveled on a few USA vs. Canada trips and enjoyed the diversity of all of the events and the thrill of competing for the United States. In December of 1987 I started working with my coach Allan Hanckel.

One month before the 1988 U.S. Olympic trials, I made a qualifying mark in the High Jump by jumping 6′ 1 1/2″. On the drive home I had a major revelation; “I could make the Olympic Team in the high jump”. I knew I was about one year away from breaking into the top three for the heptathlon, but I felt I could make the team high jumping. I have discovered there is a huge difference between truly believing you can do something, and just striving for it.

Making the Olympic Team in the high jump was one of the most thrilling, and magical moments in my life. The Olympics was an unbelievable time beyond anyone’s imagination, and it’s where I met my husband of almost nineteen years, Pat Porter. He was a two times Olympia (’84 & ’88), eight times National Cross Country Champion, thirteen time U.S. National Champion and world record holder. Later we received our two gold medals Connor (June 1997) and Shannon (April 2001).

In 1994 I had a bad neck injury (because I was being stupid during practice) that forced me to retire. This is not what I wanted because I loved to jump, the discipline of training, and having a goal. But, as many people soon learn, it was time to grow up and move on in life. I spent years getting various therapies to alleviate my pain.

2006 World Championships

2006 World Championships

After taking eleven years off from competing a friend asked me to train and meet her at the Masters National Championships in Eugene Oregon in 2003. I spent the summer praying about it and I decided to rekindle my dream and start training again.

I had to figure out what was wrong with my neck because it still hurt after all these years. Through a long process I discovered I had multiple ligament damage all down my C-1 through C-5 vertebrae. I spent 1 1/2 years getting cross friction fiber massage and am very thankful that my neck is much better than it was before I started training.

Since my return I have jumped 5′ 9 1/4″, I’m  four times World Masters Champion, World Record Holder age 40-44 yrs., and nine times U.S. Masters National Champion for my age group.

I love competing, training and the opportunities and challenges it brings me each day. I enjoy living the dream God has placed in me, and encouraging others to live their dreams too.

With the release of my new book Rekindle Your Dreams, I love encouraging women and giving them the tools to successfully live their dream, even though they might think it’s too late.

May God Bless you and may you know that He loves you very much! You are special to Him! Have a Wonderful Day!

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Achievements

  • 1988 U.S. Olympic Team, High Jump
  • Personal Best 6′ 5″, 1.96 meters
  • 2nd 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials, High Jump
  • 7th U.S. Olympic Trials, Heptathlon, 5611 points
    • Former American Record Holder, heptathlon high jump (Broken by Jackie Joyner Kersee)
  • B.S. Business Degree University of Oregon, 1984
  • Took 11 years off competing and had two children (Connor 6/97) and Shannon (4/01)
  • World Record Holder – High Jump age 40-44 years since 2003
    • 5′ 9 1/4″ – 2 1/4 inches over my head
    • Have broken the record four times
  • Four Times World Masters Champion: High Jump                                                    Outdoors – 2005 & 2007                                                                                               Indoors – 2006 & 2010
  • U.S. Champion- National Masters Track & Field Championships, 2003-2009, age 40-44, & 45-49
  • Athlete of the Year for the New Mexico Games, 2003 & 2004
  • San Mateo County, California, Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Menlo Atherton High School, multi-sport & track, Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Coaching since 1999
  • Marketing Chair for the Great Southwest Track & Field Classic, a National high school track meet