TAMPA, Florida – On the eve of the biggest race of her life – the semi-finals in the 400 meter hurdles in the Tokyo Olympics – Anna Cockrell called the only person she could turn to who had something about nerves and fighting against herself myself knew. Doubt: Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ross Cockrell, her Super Bowl-winning brother.
Ross Cockrell had watched Anna Cockrell struggle through debilitating depression until she said, “I didn’t want to be here in 2019” to become a two-time NCAA champion and graduate from USC and hold her Masters in Public Order the school’s closing speech for students and athletes.
“She’s a bright light,” said Ross Cockrell. “So I was just reminding her to enjoy the process, all the work she’s done to get to this point. Yeah, it’s the Olympics, it’s a big stage so she should feel nerve ‘She should be excited about what’s happening.’ But the most important thing I shared with her was, ‘Breathe, do it and let her light shine.’ That’s something we talk about a lot. “Charging your stars” is a little joke we have. “
Shortly before training on Monday at 7:55 a.m., the Buccaneers gathered in a large auditorium under a huge screen to watch the third semifinal over 400 meter hurdles. In the rain-soaked heat, Anna Cockrell overtook Viktorija Tkachuk and finished second with 54.17 seconds, securing a place in the final of her first Olympic Games.
“She gutted it in the end,” said Ross Cockrell. “My heart was pounding through my chest. I was sweating, just watching her run.
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It was the same magic from behind that she had at the Olympics, where she went from fifth to third on the final lap, setting a personal best of 53.70.
“It was great man,” said coach Bruce Arians. “Everyone held their breath. It was such a close race and she finished so strong and got in there. I mean the whole room blew up.
In order not to be outdone, Ross Cockrell, who had jumped back and forth between cornerback and safety due to violations of the Buccaneers’ safety, followed with a strong workout in which he posted three interceptions.
“Seeing my sister run with this team and this family was just amazing,” said Cockrell. “It was the biggest race of her life, and seeing her do so well in bad weather and adverse situations, and perform as well as she did, and then go to practice and do my thing, was just the magic too feel that she had. I think she passed it on to me. “
“I was only feeding on her magic,” he added. “She gave me the magic and I was able to move on. It’s just a great feeling and a great moment for our family.”
Arians said the team won’t be hosting a watch party for the finals as the late Tuesday start time is close to curfew at 10:30 p.m. ET, but Ross Cockrell plans to watch the race at the hotel with his teammates. There will also be watch parties between family members scattered across Louisiana, Washington, DC, and New York.
“We gave mom and dad a ball after training because the kids are what they’re supposed to be, but mom and dad did a great job raising them, that’s for sure.” Arians said.
After seeing the video of the Buccaneers cheering her on, Anna said Cockrell tweeted, “YOU WERE CRYING ME IN THE DINING ROOM OF THE VILLAGE.” they also jokedwhen she found out about her brother’s interceptions, “Wow, I really share the limelight today. Just kidding. I love that and he’s doing better.”