Alumna laces up for Rio

Natasha Jackson prepares for the 2016 heptathlon season in hopes of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics.

Photo+Courtesy+of+Natasha+Jackson

Photo Courtesy of Natasha Jackson

Jack Finck, Writer

2011 Biola alumna Natasha Jackson has competed professionally as a heptathlete since graduation, and currently has her eyes peeled on qualifying for the Canadian team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

A Return to Playing

Jackson’s best score of the 2014 season was in the Outdoor Canadian Nationals at Moncton, New Brunswick where she scored 5,928 points. Since then, Jackson ruptured her achilles tendon while competing at an event in the Netherlands on Aug. of 2014.  She returned to competition after months of physical therapy on May 24, 2015.

“Everything is 100 percent healed,” Jackson said. “Obviously it’s different than it was before. So, I have to work with that and just do some extra physical therapy on the side to make sure everything’s strengthened properly, but other than that everything’s been great.”    

Earning a Spot

In order to make the Canadian Olympic team, Jackson has to score 6,200 points in an event. After qualifying, Jackson needs to compete in a tryout tournament in Edmonton on July 2-5 of 2016. According to Olympic regulations, only three athletes from each country can compete in any one event. Jackson will have to earn one of those three sports during the tryout tournament.

While the schedule has not been released yet, the 2016 indoor season begins in late december while the 2016 outdoor season starts around April. Jackson will have all of the events from both seasons to reach the 6,200 point cut off.

“I’m actually just coming off of a month-long break. Our base season is just starting, it literally started yesterday [Sept. 21]. So yeah, it’s at the very beginnings right now and this is in preparation for that season for 2016, so we’re going to be going strong from now until then,” Jackson said.  

The Workout of Champions

Although Jackson likes to include a lot of variety in her workouts, her basic routine for base season will involve different conditioning workouts and full body lifting activities. When the indoor and outdoor competition seasons begin, daily workouts will become more technical and focus on one or two of the seven events heptathletes participate in, followed by lifting and speed endurance.  

The opening ceremony for the Olympics is on Aug. 5, 2016. Follow Jackson as she competes for a ticket to Rio on her website and her blog.

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