Hoffa Comes From Humble Beginnings To Be Olympian

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News 12 @ 6 Monday Feb. 11, 2008

ATHENS, Ga.---Lakeside product Reese Hoffa is the current World and United States champion in the shotput, probably an Olympian in a few months. But it's his background leading up to it all that'll have you amazed.

At age 30 Reese Hoffa has spanned the globe as one of the elite shotputters in the world. At age four, he and his older brother were left at an orphanage by their birth mom. Born Maurice Chism, he was adopted 18 months later eventually moved to Evans with new mom and dad Cathy and Stephen Hoffa. All the time knowing he wanted to find his big brother.

"I think ever since I was adopted I always wanted to know where my brother was at and that started the process" said Reese Hoffa "Every time I'd go back to Kentucky, I'd be looking in phone books trying to find his name and looking on the internet."

As a senior at Georgia, now a shot putting All-American, he found both his brother, and mom, who had since been reunited.

"I was very nervous. I think when she finally called me about a month later and it was like hey, this is Diana Watts and I think I may be your mom. (Long pause) I was almost speechless." added Hoffa.

During the entire time searching, Reese, who was always trying to belong to his new family, was worrying how his adopted mom might feel.

"She's my birth mom, Diana, but my real mom, essentially the person who took care of me through the good and bad and all the whatever is my mom Cathy by far. I made sure I told her that and of course she was a little worried."

Turns out there were no worries. Cathy welcomed Diana in and both have since attended Hoffa's college graduation and his wedding. Today, now living in Athens, Reese trains for the Olympic trials, but someday he'd like to help other kids through his story.

Hoffa added, "It's not that bad and there's a lot of great families out there. There's a lot of great moms and dads out there that want to give you a happy home and don't feel like in a way you have to be a certain way, just be a kid and live life as normal."

Tuesday we'll tell you how the "unknown shotputter" has to be considered a favorite for an Olympic medal.

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