David Blough leaned backward in his chair together with his hands on his head, then hunched forward nervously, cranked his neck, and slapped the ground to let a number of his tension out. As Blough’s wife, Melissa Gonzalez, settled into her block for the primary of 5 400-meter hurdle qualifying heats Friday at the Tokyo Olympics, the Detroit Lions quarterback tapped his feet anxiously on the bottom. Gonzalez finished second in her heat to advance to a semifinal race Monday as Blough celebrated wildly 6,000 miles away within the quarterback meeting room of the Lions’ Allen Park training facility, where an impromptu Olympic watch party broke out.
Shown in a video released by the Lions, Blough sat within the front row of an outsized auditorium, alongside his fellow quarterbacks, as several teammates and most of the Lions coaching staff watched from the rear of the space. Blough, who is competing with Tim Boyle for the No. 2 quarterback job, said applause within the room was “thunderous” when Gonzalez pulled before Team USA’s Anna Cockrell to clinch her spot within the semifinals, which he was shocked and appreciative of Lions coach Dan Campbell’s gesture to briefly pause training camp preparations in support of his wife.
“It made us feel so loved, man,” Blough said. “I mean, I feel that’s the simplest thanks to putting it’s you’ll have seen the video of me going nuts and that I was telling them that’s me whether it is the Olympics or we’re running at a secondary school and she’s having to race her sister. That’s just how i’m. I rotate and saw the staff and it just hit me. That’s one among those moments that I’ll remember forever.” Foreign relations aren’t allowed to attend the Olympics this year thanks to COVID-19 restrictions, but Blough said he has experienced the Games vicariously through Gonzalez. The two are in regular contact since she traveled to Tokyo earlier this month, even with the 13-hour time difference adding to their already hectic schedules.
“As a touch girl who grew up watching track and dreaming about being at this stage, it’s a touching glimpse of heaven (for her),” Blough said. “She told me a story about having a fluent conversation with somebody from Japan, where they spoke into their phone and showed her just the technology we’ve and the way cool that’s. They showed it and it said it to her in English then she spoke into it and it came back in (Japanese). “It’s just a touching glimpse of everybody being brought together. I feel that’s one of the special things about the Olympics. She’s made friends with other girls and guys there trading pins and therefore the fun things athletes get to try to do within the village. Yeah, we’re quite on Cloud 9.” Before elation set in, Blough was a ball of nerves watching Gonzalez set a replacement Colombian record with a time of 55.32 seconds.
He said he wasn’t worried when she fell behind early within the race due to her history of strong finishes. And as Gonzalez turned the ultimate corner with one among four automatic qualifying bids from the warmth accessible, Blough yelled, “We need to go, Mel,” repeatedly at the video screen showing the race. “The hurdles are great,” Blough said. “You can always tell where they’re at supported once they re-evaluate the hurdle. They’ve evenly spread apart so I can see if she’s at hurdle five and she’s in seventh place, but I do know her back half her race is stronger than her front half and by the time she’s at hurdle eight or nine she’s approaching second.
I’m getting chills talking about it or brooding about it. She’s incredible. She’s addressed such a lot over the past year and as a lover and husband, more so, I just wanted the simplest for her, and she or he crushed it.” Gonzalez runs her semifinal race at 7:55 a.m. Eastern Time Monday, just before Blough and therefore the Lions are scheduled to require the sector for his or her first padded practice of coaching camp. She likely will got to run a private best to qualify for the finals, but with the 13th fastest time in prelims, nothing seems out of reach. “She’s worked incredibly hard to be where she’s at,” Blough said. “She’s world-class.”