Triple Jumper, Double Trouble: Amanda Smock Combines Academics & Athletics for a First-Class Combo

featuredsalumseal_opt.fw.pngSchool of Kinesiology alumnae Amanda Smock (Ph.D., 2010) has taken her triple jump career much farther than the collegiate level. Smock was first drawn to the triple jump when she began competing in track and field for her high school. Smock explains that “the event is the most enticing due to its technicality.” It was the technical and scientific aspect of the triple jump that initially grabbed her attention.
smock1.pngAfter high school, Smock moved forward with her training at North Dakota State University, competing for the women’s track and field team while earning her undergraduate degree. Upon graduation from NDSU, Smock came to the
University of Minnesota to continue both her studies and training for the triple jump.
The initial plan for Smock was to earn her Master’s and become eligible to coach track and field at the collegiate level. But while earning her Master’s, Smock discovered an interest in research and decided to continue her studies in the School’s doctoral program, where she focused on exercise physiology. As if balancing training and research wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also worked as the assistant coach for the University of Minnesota women’s track and field team.
Smock’s hard work and commitment paid off in 2012 when she qualified for the Summer Olympic Games in London. After winning the U.S. Olympic Trials with a jump of 45 feet, 9 inches, Amanda was thrilled to continue her journey to the Olympic Stadium in 2012.
“The Olympics lived up to my expectations,” Smock says about her experience. From the opening ceremony to living in the athlete village to competing in the Olympic Stadium, Smock says she feels immensely thankful about the opportunity. In one sense, she was grateful to be representing the United States in competition, but in another, she was grateful for the support that she has had throughout her career. Smock explained that she never would have excelled without the support of her friends and family.
2smock_opt.pngIn the qualifying round, Smock had three chances to jump. Her best jump in the Olympic Stadium was 44 feet, 6 inches, falling short of the qualifying distance of 47 feet, 3 inches. Although she was disappointed that she did not advance to the finals, she still felt fortunate to have experienced the London 2012 Olympics.
Although Smock did not perform her best at the Olympic Stadium, she has not lost her drive to compete. She is currently training for both indoor and outdoor meets to prepare and compete in the World Championship this August in Moscow. As for the Rio Olympics in 2016, she says, “We will have to wait and see!”
Looking at her future after competition, Smock muses, “My heart is in coaching or athletic administration.” But before Smock retires, follow her journey to the World Championship this summer in Moscow from August 10-18. More info @ Corken, Communications Assistant

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