Her Olympic dreams were nearly crushed, until an unlikely coach saved the day.
I'm a sucker for sweet daddy/daughter stories. This is an inspirational one.
One of Canada's top javelin throwers, 20-year-old Tiffani Hernandez, has her eyes set on one goal — the Olympics.
She's dreamed of carrying the torch for Canada since the ninth grade.
And, as Alex Malveal of Cable 14 reports, as one of the country's top javelin throwers, Tiffani was well on her way.
She received an athletic scholarship from Florida International University and was excited to start working with their NCAA coaches. She even admits, "I bragged about this to everyone on my track team. I was making it known to the other athletes. I was going to be one of the top athletes at FIU."
But then things didn't start off so well for Tiffani. She barely improved at all during her first year.
Nothing was working. She failed to impress, only improving her javelin stats by a centimeter. "I was like, dang, this is kind of embarrassing because a centimeter improvement was not what I was looking for," Tiffani said.
Before she could give up, her dad, Andrew, stepped in to help out.
An insurance adjuster and former sailor, he had never thrown a javelin in his life. Although he's no sports pro, he worked with Tiffani at a local track during her summer break. He said to her, "Tiffani we're just going to have to break it down, get to the basics and we'll get there," she explained. It was less about javelin technique and more about how any person can overcome the challenges before them.
Isn't that what great dads do? Show us how to be even greater people?
Eventually, his small tweaks turned into big wins for Tiffani. "When I tried my dad's way I was getting amazing distance, effortlessly now. And I realized if my dad was right about that, let's keep on listening to him, " she smiled.
It turns out, even a dad who works in insurance can help coach an Olympic hopeful.
Andrew says that his efforts weren't solely about turning his daughter into an Olympian, but helping her learn to overcome challenges.
"I'm more proud of what that process has done for her as a person, her character. That just blows me away. As a parent, when you see a child work at something, whatever it is," he said. "It's fantastic."