Pregnancy Impeeds Performance
Brisco-Hooks continued to excel in her track career at the collegiate level while she attended California State-Northridge. In 1979 she won 200-meter final in the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) championships. In that same year she represented the United States and the Pan-American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, winning a gold medal as a member of the United States's 4×400 meter relay team.
Brisco-Hooks continued to run, and in 1981 she married a former standout on the Cal State Northridge men's track team, Alvin Hooks. Now known as Valerie Brisco-Hooks, she gave birth to a son, Alvin, Jr., the next year. The birth of her child almost proved to be the death of her running career. For the nine months of her pregnancy and the nine months that followed, Brisco-Hooks was physically inactive, preferring to watch soap operas. At her heaviest, Brisco-Hooks topped the scales at 198 pounds, almost 70 pounds above her competitive weight of 130.
When Brisco-Hooks finally became restless herself, her husband Alvin and her former coach Bobby Kersee persuaded her that she could compete again at a world class level. With Kersee as her coach and Alvin taking care of the baby (Alvin was cut from the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League at the end of the 1983 season), slowly but surely Brisco-Hooks dropped weight and picked up her speed. Said Brisco-Hooks of her comeback, "I was really big. It took me a while to really believe in myself and want to run," but "Bobby kept coming to my house and saying, 'Valerie, I know you have it in you.'"
- Valerie Brisco-Hooks - Chronology
- Valerie Brisco-Hooks - Brother's Death Shaped Her Life
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