Tori Polk owns Polk Apparel, a company that manufactures custom-made track and field uniforms and athletic wear.
While she loves her own apparel, the American long jumper admits that nothing wears better than the Team USA uniform.
“There’s nothing like it,” she said Saturday at the first Tori Polk Track & Field Classic at Arlington Lamar High School. “Team USA — that’s where everybody wants to be. We are known. We have the biggest squad. We have some of the best athletes in the world.
“There’s nothing like putting on USA and going out there and representing your country. There’s no other feeling like that.”
Polk, 31, has competed in two World Championships, finishing 33rd in 2011 and eighth in 2013. She also finished fifth last year at the World Indoor Championships after winning the USA Indoor title.
She hopes to make her first Olympic team in 2016.
The Texas Tech product finished 24th in the 2008 U.S. Trials and ninth in 2012. After failing to make the London Games, Polk moved back to Texas and became a self-coached athlete. She trains at various tracks around North Texas, including SMU.
“Making the Olympics is the dream,” Polk said. “After the 2012 season, I think that was the turning point for me. I realized there might not have been any other opportunity in this lifetime for me to make another Olympic team.”
The USA Outdoor Championships take place in Eugene, Ore., on June 25-28, with the IAAF World Championships set for Aug. 22-30 in Beijing.
Her longest jump of 21-11.75 feet this season ranks her sixth in the U.S., but a lingering foot injury should completely heal before the USA championships.
“My goal is just to continue to move up the ranks,” said Polk, who owns a personal-best of 22-1.75 feet.
Polk grew up in Waco, running the sprint events and relays and competing in the long jump. She decided to give back to the sport by hosting her first track meet. Kids ages 8-12 ran Saturday morning at Cravens Field, with the 13-18 age group and elite athletes competing in the afternoon.
“I came up in summer track when I was a child,” Polk said, “so I wanted to come back and have an event for them. It’s a chance for them to get ready for their Association Championships next week.”
Polk began sewing her own uniforms two years ago when she was without a sponsor. She still designs uniforms, but her company now outsources the manufacturing.
“It fell into my lap,” she said. “I decided I wasn’t going to buy anybody else’s apparel, and I would just make my own. I sewed in home economics as a freshman in high school, so I bought a sewing machine and figured it out.
“After that, people started catching on, and they were wondering where I was getting my uniforms. I said, ‘Maybe I’ll see if anybody else wants it,’ and that’s how it got started.”
Polk’s day job, though, will keep her busy at least through next season. She plans on wearing a Team USA uniform in Rio.
“I don’t know who I was many years ago,” Polk said. “I think it’s the want, the motivation, the dedication and my own heart. This is something that I really want. I’ve dreamed of it since I was child.”
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760