Former University of Southern California track star Vanessa Jones is an Olympic hopeful, and if it weren't for her brother, she probably wouldn't be able to afford to chase her dreams.
Jones' older brother is Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones, and when she reached out to him last July for advice and to express her desire to try to make the U.S. Olympic team, she explained her obstacles.
For many athletes without sponsors, training for the Olympics is virtually impossible. But Marvin Jones made it happen for his little sister. He's footing the bill for her training and living expenses as she prepares for the July trials for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
"I didn't think twice about it," Marvin Jones, 26, told ESPN of his sister's request, saying that he had been planning to support her anyway.
Vanessa Jones said she prayed about the conversation she was going to have with her brother.
“It motivated me even more,” Vanessa Jones said. “I was just being patient and was praying about it, and then Marvin came with his idea and it was like, ‘Oh, it worked out.’ I didn’t know if I wanted to stay at USC or find a coach.
“He literally took everything in his hands and talked to the recruiting person. He called me and told me to go online and fill out all the paperwork and we’re going to get you in. Then it all happened. I was thankful and blessed to have a brother that believes in me as much as I do in myself. It’s amazing.”
Some of the advice Marvin Jones gave her sister was about competing against seasoned track stars like Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross.
“You’re going to see all these people you ran against again,” Marvin Jones said. “So the next time you see them, don’t think, ‘Oh my God, do this.’ You’re trying to beat them; you can’t look at them like that."
And that's what big brothers are for.