A Tearful Track Star Celebrates Bronze Medal on Her Mom's Birthday: 'A Huge Accomplishment'

·2 min read
A Tearful Track Star Celebrates Bronze Medal on Her Mom's Birthday: 'A Huge Accomplishment'

Raevyn Rodgers won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Summer Olympics on Tuesday night and, not long after, began to cry.

They were happy tears.

"It's my mom's birthday. So to really start her day off in Texas, in Houston just celebrating her whole day while I'm going to go to sleep — it's a huge accomplishment," Rodgers, still visibly emotional, told PEOPLE as she spoke with reporters after her third-place finish in the women's 800m.

The 24-year-old narrowly edged out Great Britain's Jemma Reekie and and China's Wang Chunyu in a burst of speed in the final hundred meters that pulled her over the finish line and onto the podium. (Team USA's Athing Mu took gold in her own first.)

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Raevyn Rogers
Raevyn Rogers

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

"I just needed to give it all I had," Rogers said after. "And there was a split second in the race where it's like, 'You should try to go 'cause you can get a medal.' It was like this split second. I was like, Oh shoot, I should really go for this."

She was still soaking in her success: "I'm an Olympic medalist, a bronze medalist. To be that top in the world is a big deal." She gave all the credit to her family — who "has poured into me to being the person I am today" — especially her mom, Rhonda Rogers-Hunt.

"I've grown up just watching her just really kind of pave the way. She's a director at one of the major sports complexes in Houston and just seeing her break barriers and be the only woman — staying up late at night for events and games and just really seeing the hours she put in," Rogers said, adding with a grin: "She's been getting more interviews than me … She deserves all the attention."

Raevyn Rogers
Raevyn Rogers

Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

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As Rogers crossed the finish line, her mom was back home in Texas watching and celebrating too.

"I am really emotional," Rogers-Hunt told location TV station KPRC.

"I thank Him [God] for letting Raevyn be safe and coming across that [finish] line, with her bringing home some hardware for her mother for a happy birthday," she said. "I'm just happy. I'm overjoyed — full of joy, just full of joy right now."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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