|Born:||September 08, 1984|
San Jose, CA
Jacquelyn Johnson will make her Olympic debut for the United States this summer in Beijing, where she hopes to contend for a medal in the heptathlon. Johnson, the most accomplished heptathlete in collegiate history, is coached by Olympic decathlon gold medalist Dan O'Brien.
Two weeks after winning her record fourth straight NCAA title, Johnson qualified for Beijing by finishing second behind Hyleas Fountain in the heptathlon at the Olympic Trials. Johnson scored 6,347 points.
Already a six-time NCAA champion with three indoor pentathlon crowns and three outdoor heptathlon crowns, Johnson became the first four-time collegiate champion in the heptathlon and only the fourth woman in NCAA history to capture the same event four times in a career. Johnson join edfour-time champions Suzy Favor of Wisconsin in the 15000m run (1987-90), Seilala Sua of UCLA in the discus (1997-2000) and Angela Williams of USC in the 100m (1999-2002).
Eye on the prize
While Johnson very much wantws to win a fourth straight NCAA title, she was very cognizant of the bigger meet two weeks later - the U.S. Olympic Trials. "I am going to go out there and do what I have to do to win," Johnson said beforehand. "I will try to save something for Trials." Johnson said she felt like two weeks is the perfect amount of time for her to recover from NCAAs. "Get a little rest after NCAAs, put in a little work, taper it down and get ready for the Trials," Johnson said. "I think two weeks is a great time because with too much time you might get a little lazy or give yourself room to over-train."
At the Pac-10 Championships on May 10, Johnson won her third straight heptathlon title with a then-world-leading score of 6,307 points. Her score broke the conference record of 6,205 points and the meet record of 6,018 points, both set in 2007 by Diana Pickler of Washington State. In the process, Johnson became just the third woman in conference history to win three heptathlon titles.
In March, Johnson became the first three-time winner of the indoor pentathlon and just the ninth woman in NCAA history to win the same event three times in a career. Johnson scored 4,496 points to break both the meet and collegiate records. She broke the previous NCAA record mark of 4,439 points scored by Austra Skuyte of Kansas State in 2002 while also breaking the previous meet record of 4,412 points scored by Hyleas Fountain of Georgia in 2004, the year she defeated Johnson and the only time Johnson has not won the national title in the multi-events.
Johnson continued her incredible collegiate career in 2007 when she won her third straight NCAA heptathlon title. But the victory didn't come easy. Johnson trailed Diana Pickler of Washington State, a national-team heptathlete, late in the competition. But Johnson scored personal-best marks of 45.58m/149-6 in the javelin and 2:19.54 in the 800m to come from behind for the win with 5,984 points, just three points off her personal-best score at the time.
Surgery a success
Before the 2007 indoor season, Johnson had surgery to clean out tissue in her left ankle. While the surgery may have been routine, it was crucial to Johnson because she uses her left foot to plant in the high jump and long jump. Her recovery process went smoother than expected, and she was able to successfully defend her NCAA pentathlon title in March of 2007. Johnson won a third straight title this past indoor season.
Coach with most
Johnson has had the opportunity to learn from one of the sport's all-time greats, Olympic decathlon gold medalist Dan O'Brien, who serves as a volunteer assistant coach for the Sun Devils. "It's an honor. I'm blessed to have somebody like that coaching me," Johnson said. "He knows what it's like. He's been there and done that at the highest level. He probably knows more about what I'm going through at a particular moment than I do. He knows where I'm at mentally and that's the key to the heptathlon or decathlon. It's mentally challenging going through all of those events."
A three-sport athlete in high school, Johnson chose Arizona State partially because she had the opportunity to compete in both track and basketball for the school. In 2005, she redshirted in track following the basketball season. She played in 17 games that year for the Sun Devils, which advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Johnson was among the most decorated scholastic athletes in Arizona history. While at Yuma High School, she won 14 state titles in track and field, including four straight in both the high jump and long jump, and also set the state record in the 100m hurdles. Johnson also lettered four times in volleyball and basketball.
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