Bell To Ring Loud & Clear In Beijing, Parents Proud - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/16/08-Kilgore

Bell To Ring Loud & Clear In Beijing, Parents Proud

Team USA will have some Kilgore Bulldog flare in Beijing next month.

Kilgore graduate Kenta Bell qualified in the triple jump for the Olympic games. It is his second Olympic trip.

The first came in 2004 with a trip to Athens where he finished ninth. Kenta is in Atlanta training for the games. Tuesday afternoon he spoke with Sports Director Maya Golden about the second chance of a lifetime.

"You do so much of it by yourself," Kenta explained. "You train by yourself most of the time you lift weights by yourself. It's like you finally get the chance to put the USA uniform on, you see the flag and you hear your song and you realize all of a sudden it's for a whole nation."

"It kind of gets big. It kind of settles in on you. You get butterflies in your stomach  and your heart beats fast. It's an amazing feeling."

Naturally no one could be more excited for Kenta's accomplishment than the people who watched him grow into a world class athlete. His mom and dad.

"There's no words to describe how proud (we are)," his mother, Diane Bell said. "We're just excited, this is awesome. This just doesn't happen everyday."

While many parents have bumper stickers praising their child as an honor student, Diane and Kenneth Bell can boast something much different: My Son is an Olympian."

"There's not many dads or people that can say that their son or child is an Olympian," Kenneth said. 

Kenta's Olympic glory began right on the school yards in Kilgore. Diane's first glimpse of his talent came during his second grade field day.

"Kenta came through with like nine ribbons pinned all the down him," Diane said. "The superintendent walked up and said you have quite the athlete there. I said, 'Gosh, thanks,' but you know that was just Kenta."

Kenta would join his eighth grade track team and at Kilgore High, he played football and ran track. He headed to Northwestern State University where he earned a degree in criminal justice. On the verge of law school, Kenta made a decision.

"He came home and talked us and said, 'Mama, I've done what you and daddy required of us. I got my degree, now can I do what I want to do?'"

Kenta set his sights on making the Olympics. After winning gold at nationals in 2003, he headed to the Athens games in 2004. He placed ninth in the triple jump, but for mom and dad it felt like first.

"It was unbelievable because I was like Kenneth did he or did he not?" Diane said. "We couldn't believe it."

Diane will travel to Beijing. Kenneth recently had back surgery and will not be able to make the trip. Still he'll hang on every piece of news from the games.

The Bells are a close family but there is one family feud. Where did Kenta get his talent?

"You look at him and see who he looks like," Kenneth said. "That's where he gets it from."

Diane laughed. "He got it from his mom okay?"
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