Kalea Randolph (left) and Cameron Thompson (right) (Source: NBC12)
Coach Barney Cobb (Source: NBC12)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -
Before the Summer Games kick off in Rio, two Richmond girls will compete in the Junior Olympics, starting this weekend in Houston.
These girls are only nine years old. The young track stars are coached by a Richmonder with a very impressive athletic history of his own.
Cameron Thompson, Kalea Randolph and their coach, Barney Cobb - the three together are racing off to Houston for the Junior Olympics this weekend.
"When I run down the board, everybody just looks at me like 'hey, look at that girl, I heard she jumped 12-foot-something!' That's what I like," said Randolph.
Her community likes it too. Randolph is representing Richmond in several track and field events at the Junior Olympics. She's ranked number one in the state for the Triathlon, the high jump, and the long jump.
Thompson is actually running against 10-year-olds because of her birthday. She's number one in the state in the 100 meter and ranked second both the 200 and 400.
"I like running," said Thompson. "I like to get awards after."
Their fathers attribute a lot of their recent success to their coach. Cobb is a former Junior Olympian himself and went to LSU on an athletic scholarship.
"I was the first African American athlete from this area to go to a Southeastern Conference school, in a sport, a major sport," said Cobb. "In 1972, that was a big deal."
From there, Cobb was an Olympic qualifier himself, but these days, it's all about passing the torch to Thompson and Randolph.
"I think I have the knowledge and the ability to share what I know about track and about fitness to these kids," said Cobb. "In that way, I'm hoping to mold them - you know, make them better runners, better athletes, and better people...I'm the richest man in the world because I can help kids."