Olympian Tori Bowie inspired by Mississippi roots

Olympian Tori Bowie inspired by Mississippi roots

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (WMC) - Olympian Tori Bowie is proud of her heritage.

Bowie, a Mississippi native, has won a silver and bronze medal in the Rio Olympics. She said her Mississippi pride keeps her going.

Bowie was featured in NBC's "Rio Inspirations" to talk about her home.

"My entire family and friends—they're all in Mississippi," Bowie said. "[It's] kind of one of the reasons that keeps me going. I want to represent; you know? I want to represent well. I want to do a good job, not only for the people in Mississippi, but for my country as well."

In July, Bowie gave NBC a tour of her hometown of Sandhill, Mississippi. It's a town, she said, that has no stop lights, and is filled with small-town lure. Sandhill's listed population is just 92.

"When I'm back in Sandhill, I just feel free," Bowie said.

She credits her family for helping her grow and become the person she is.

"I come back to Mississippi, because my family is here. And I don't think that I would ever find the type of support that I have here. This is where I find my strength."

Bowie's grandmother raised her throughout her whole life. She considers her grandmother Bobbie Smith to be her role model.

Smith said she encouraged Tori and her sister to go to school and do good from a young age.

"They took my advice," she said.

It's no secret that Bowie knows where her home is.

"One day I hope that I can come home to Sandhill and it's this huge sign that says 'Welcome to Sandhill: Home of Tori Bowie.'"

Bowie attended University of Southern Mississippi from 2008-12. She will take two medals back to Sandhill: A silver in the women's 100m final and a bronze in the women's 200m final.

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