London • Many Olympic medalists express gratitude for their mothers while they are wrapped in the initial euphoria that comes with achieving their dream. Reese Hoffa thanked both of his moms Friday night.
Hoffa claimed the first track and field medal of the London Games for Team USA, a bronze in the shot put, which was won by Tomasz Majewski of Poland, with David Storl of Germany getting silver. Hoffa is a burly bear of a man, as most shot putters are, but he revealed a soft heart.
Hoffa was put up for adoption when he was 3 years old.
"I started life as this kid from a mom that wanted to give her son a great life," said Hoffa, who is from Augusta, Ga. "To now being a son of two moms, I guess, and getting a medal, it's awesome."
In the other medal event of the evening, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia broke away from a lead pack of four runners in the women's 10,000 meters to repeat as Olympic gold medalist with a time of 30 minutes, 20.75 seconds. Kenyans Sally Jepkosgei Kipyego and Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot took silver and bronze. Amy Hastings was the top American in 11th.
Americans Carmelita Jeter, Allyson Felix and Tianna Madison advanced from the first round of the women's 100 meters.
"I have to put my start together in the next round, because I completely missed it, but I feel confident I can step it up," Felix said. "It feels really great to have it a full stadium and feel all the energy and stuff. Exciting to finally be underway."
All three U.S. men in the 1,500 meters Leo Monzano, Andrew Wheating and Matt Centrowitz moved on as well.
With a throw of 21.89 meters, Majewski became the first man to repeat as Olympic shot put champion since Parry O'Brien of the U.S. in 1952-56, but he growled through the news conference that followed, complaining about questions he didn't like. Storl acknowledged that it had been a tough week for him because his grandmother died last week.
"With sport you can concentrate on other things," said Storl, the reigning world champion. "It was very, very difficult last week."
When it was his turn, Hoffa spoke about inspiration. After living in an orphanage for a year, he was adopted by a family that already had four kids, and after he moved in with them they had another.
"To my mom, I have to say thank you very much," said Hoffa, who threw 21.23 meters. "She was 16 when she had me. For her to make the decision to try to give me the best life I possibly can have, I'm sure that took incredible courage on her part.
"I'm standing here as not only a three-time Olympian, but a graduate of the University of Georgia, and hopefully a pretty good person. I'm a very lucky guy, because it could have gone the other way."
Hoffa was reunited with his birth mother during his junior year of college after he went searching on the internet and found a woman looking for a son that she gave up for adoption. She was living in Indiana.
"She bought me a plane ticket, flew me to Indiana, we had a reunion and I got to get reunited with my birth brother," Hoffa said. "It was awesome. It's just one of those great stories.
"It is definitely a love story."