In 1997 at Northwood Junior High in Elyria, Ohio, Tianna Bartoletta began her track and field career. Tianna earned the title of city champ in 1998 and saw her skills continue to grow through high school, qualifying her for state as a freshman, and then taking the state title in the long jump her sophomore year.
It was both junior and senior year that she really stood out, earning four back-to-back state titles in the 100m, 200m, 4×1, and long jump. By graduation, she had already earned an astounding nine state titles and two state records. With a full scholarship, Tianna headed off to the University of Tennessee. Although eligible for the World Juniors Championship, she opted out to take a shot at the 2004 Olympic trials in Sacramento.
After learning a great deal in her unsuccessful trials experience, Tianna dominated every major championship in the SEC Indoor and Outdoor arenas and the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor arenas. It was that year that Tianna aimed at making the World Championship team, placing within the top three and obtaining the necessary “A” standard to earn her place on the team.
Tianna’s first international debut was in 2005, in Stockholm, Sweden where she was met with steep competition. She lost, greatly shaking her confidence only a few short weeks before the World Championships.
The World Championships that year were held in Helsinki, Finland and at age 19, Tianna was the youngest competitor there. After the majority of the competition, Tianna was trailing in fifth place. She had to jump better than ever to pull ahead.
Tianna triumphantly overcame the pressure of the situation, jumped her personal best, and became a World Champion at the age of 19. She went on to sign a professional contract with NIKE and headed to Los Angeles to train with Bobby Kersee. In March of that same year, the finalists met up again in Moscow for the World Indoor Championships. Bartoletta posted a new personal best.
Later that year, Tianna competed in a Team USA even in England. During one of her long jump practices, she landed with her right leg still straight in the pit. The combination of speed, momentum, and gravity proved too much for her knee. Her leg buckled and bent backwards, tearing the cartilage and chipping pieces of bone off the patella.
Battling through the pain, Tianna finished the season. Her injury worsened and ultimately prevented her from defending her World Championship title. Three months after the injury, she had surgery and later attended the 2007 World Championships in Japan. Without a full recovery, Tianna placed only tenth.
Tianna had high expectations for 2008 as it was her second year training under Kersee. She went out to the 2008 Olympic trials, hoping to be back in form for the Olympic Games. Though she made the finals, she failed to make the team.
With her contract expiration date rapidly approaching, Tianna needed to make a change fast. Today, Tianna trains with Rana Reider, one of the top track and field coaches in the world. Reider was named National Coach of the Year and Nike Coach of the Year in 2011, and his team is considered one of the top track and field training groups in the world.
With a youth filled with great triumphs, but a more recent past filled with injury, loss, and disappointment, Tianna was anxious to begin a new chapter in her training. Since moving back to Florida, she has broken personal records in speed and has trained harder and smarter than ever before. As a result Tianna is now an Olympian!
At the 2012 London Olympics, Tianna placed 4th in the 100-meter dash with 10.85, a personal best. Tianna was the lead leg for the women’s 4×100-meter relay with Alyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter, and Bianca Knight. Together this all-star team brought home the Olympic gold medal for the USA, breaking the the world record by half a second with a 40.82 run.