TAMPA, Fla – The Detroit Lions aren’t the only team hosting Olympic track and field parties at this training camp. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will also hold one on Monday at 7:55 a.m. just moments before entering the practice field to watch cornerback Ross Cockrell’s sister Anna Cockrell in the semi-final 3 of the women’s 400-meter hurdles .
Cockrell, who was a key reserve on the Bucs’ Super Bowl winning team last year, is delighted that his younger sister gets the chance to make her dream come true, even if he can’t be there.
“She’s worked hard for it all of her life and I’m just really looking forward to seeing her,” said Cockrell. “She’s an absolute beast on the track. I have a lot of respect for what she does.”
The four-time All-American in Southern Cal won the NCAA track titles over the 100 and 400 meter hurdles in June. At the Olympic Trials she then showed the performance of her life, catapulted herself from fifth place to third place in the final corner – the last place in the Olympic team – and finished the race with a personal best of 53.70 seconds.
On Friday, she scored a 55.37 in Heat 1 behind Colombian Melissa Gonzalez (55.32), wife of Lions backup quarterback David Blough, and Ukrainian Viktoriya Tkachuk (54.80).
“One of the things I say to Anna is that she’s a five-star recruit coming out of high school,” said Cockrell. “So I just tell her, ‘Be a five star hotel. Just breathe and do it. … Just breathe, do it and let your light shine.'”
Since she was in Tokyo, the Cockrell siblings have been able to make phone calls and exchange text messages. On Saturday evening they exchanged views on the weather. Japan’s sweltering heat wave and suffocating moisture surprised her while the older Cockrell had just put on pads for the first time at a training camp in Tampa Bay.
“We have good discussions about how to handle high-level performance,” said Cockrell, who joined the Bucs as a free agent mid-season. “As an older brother, I just love giving her as much advice as possible. I am learning to listen more. It’s one of the things I have to work on with her. We just have good conversations, we respect each other [does] and if we have to give each other this space, we give ourselves this space. “
The postponement of the Olympics due to the pandemic meant Anna would miss her final year of competition at Southern Cal. Cockrell called it “the longest year in my sister’s life,” but said it helped her rejuvenate both physically and mentally.
In a tearful interview after the Trials race, she talked about battling depression in 2019 and wanting to quit the sport, which she has since elaborated on due to an increased focus on the mental health of athletes at the Olympics.
“She is very talented,” said Cockrell. “She is a very beautiful person inside and out.
“We are just incredibly grateful. I think the whole family – all of us. We thank God every day, every time we talk to each other. Once. “
Count Cockrell’s Tampa Bay teammates as part of this family.
“We’re going to try to have everyone,” said coach Bruce Arians. “Every television in the building will play on it. So we are very happy about it. “