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Lance Brooks (born January 1, 1984) is an American national champion discus thrower who also competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Brooks was born in New Berlin, Illinois, on January 1, 1984. He was 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and was 52.25 inches (565 mm), making him an exceptionally large boy at birth. He first played basketball at the YMCA in fourth grade and first participated in competitive sports in fourth grade. At the time, the school didn't have a Monument and Field team. Brooks' parents successfully petitioned the school board to approve Brooks as a one-person team in eighth grade. 50 students joined the team this year.
Brooks played baseball and basketball at New Berlin High School, where he competed in baseball and basketball. He competed in numerous track and field tournaments, excelling at discus. He won almost every meet and was the state discus champion his senior year. Brooks was very involved in Boy Scouts throughout his youth, earning the rank of Eagle Scout.
Brooks earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science after graduating from Millikin University in 2006. He played basketball and did track and field during college. He set a school record in discus (57.83 meters/189 ft 9in), but did not consider seriously competing in the sport. During his time at Millikin, Brooks was an NCAA Division III All-American.
Brooks moved to Boulder, Colorado, to train and teach track and field at the high school level following college. For one semester, he attended graduate school at University of Colorado. He qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials but did not make the team but did not make the team.
Brooks finished fourth in discus at the US Outdoor Championships in 2009, barely missing qualifying for the World's in discus. In 2010, he set a new personal record of 64.79 meters and finished the year ranked No. 24 in the world. Brooks came in third place in the discus at the 2011 National Outdoor Championships, with a score of 63.45 meters (208.2 ft). He was rated for the 2011 World Championships by his final throw, which he earned on his last throw. He finished 13th at the World's Best of Showdown. He was ranked 38th in the world at the discus last year.
At the 2012 Olympic Trials, he led all six rounds of the competition, throwing over 64 meters (210 ft) of each of his first three throws. However, he had not met the "A" Standard that had to be selected to make the Olympic team in any previous competition, and was therefore in risk of winning the competition but failing to qualify for the Olympics. He completed the challenge with a personal record and a minimum of 65 meters on his final throw. Brooks remarked, "I knew I had to chill on my last throw." I just took a minute and chilled and tried not to get nervous because that's what destroyed my fourth and fifth throws [on which he fouled]. I knew I could throw it out, but it was just a matter of getting through it." The entire competition was held in the rain, limiting the competitor's throwing ability.
Brooks threw the discus 60.17 meters (200.7 ft) on his first attempt at the Olympics. Brooks' next two throws were marginally shorter, leaving him in 21st place among 42 players after the three qualification round throws. Brooks is over since only the top twelve teams qualified to the finals. Brooks' technique was marginally off: "I think he was a little late out of the back [of the throwing ring], his mentor, Steve DeAutremont." He didn't get to finish as smoothly as he did. All the little things add up." "I'm quite content with how I did," Brooks said.
Brooks is coached by Steve DeAutremont and sponsored by Nike. Lance Brooks also volunteers his assistance to High School Athletes. After assisting a promising Ridgway High School thrower, he held an exhibition training session at the High School track meet in Grand Junction, Colorado.