RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The last time we checked in on Tia-Adana Belle was 2 years ago. She had just posted the fastest time that year in the 400 hurdles and was getting ready for Worlds with an eye on the Olympics. The only thing that broke her flawless stride……the pandemic.
“It’s new for me, it’s new for everyone,” said Belle. “But this has been honestly very tough.” Without races to run St. Augustine’s 3 time NCAA champion did what she could to maintain her edge as she prepares to compete for Barbados in the Olympics. To let her tell it she may have prepared a little too well.
“Training wise I’m in the best shape ever I feel faster and stronger,” said Belle. “It’s just that when I’m in a race my body is like what am I doing here this is not what we are doing. Last week we were chilling on a couch and watching Netflix.”
Making sure she achieves her full potential is legendary St. Augustine’s track coach George Williams.
The man that helped shape her career in college is coaching her up once again. Sometimes it’s with a pat on the back and other times with something stronger.
“It’s like your own daughter you know she going talk back to you every now and then,” said WIlliams. “You’re going to holler at her every now and then but eventually you’re all going to come to the same table.”
“He’s not just my coach on the track he is like, say my dad in real life,” said Belle. “We have argued but we always come back because at the end of the day its genuine love that’s my poppa.”
It’s Tia’s second Olympic games, her first in Rio was a bit much to take in as she was just 20 years old. It was the end of a long track season for her and was still shy about her fame.
“I didn’t want people to know I was in the Olympics, I was shy, I was trying to be under cover. I was like let me go run then come back,” said Belle. “You Know you miss the memories because when you get older and stuff like that, what are you going to have so I’m trying harder now. I’m going to take more pictures and videos and enjoy myself because how often do you go to Tokyo.”
She also admits with the new COVID rules put in place not having fans in the stands will be different.
“In the race when you get ready and the gun goes off it’s just me and 10 hurdles but after you run and you do good and you look around there is no one there,” said Belle. “We look for somebody to like share our wins and losses and looking around in the stands and not seeing anybody up there waving your flag or seeing my mom or somebody, there it kind of plays with you.”