After being put in foster care with her sister Tamarra at the age of 2, Bowie’s grandmother Bobbie Smith fought a tough custody battle to be able to take custody of the two sisters and raise them on her own.
“I encouraged them to go to school, don’t think about boys at a young age, and to do good,” Smith told NBC. “And they took my advice.”
The athlete, 25, also credits her tight-knit community in Sandhill, Mississippi, with helping her become the woman she is today.
“I always said that it takes a village to raise a child,” Bowie said during a visit back to her old high school with the news network, nothing that her small town has “not even one” stoplight.
The family-oriented community of Sandhill also gives Bowie a place to escape the fast-paced and sometimes stressful environment when she is training.
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The runner, who previously won bronze in the 100 meter at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, is now ready to take her speed to the next level – and hopefully make her hometown proud.
“One day I hope that I can come to Sandhill, and there’s a huge sign that says ‘Welcome to Sandhill, Home to Tori Bowie,’ ” she says.
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