Biography:

Jessica Zelinka is a two-time Olympian who did double duty at London 2012 where she finished seventh in both the heptathlon and 100m hurdles. At the 2012 Canadian Championships Zelinka set a then-national heptathlon record (6599), breaking the mark she had established in finishing fifth at Beijing 2008 (6490). She also won the highly-anticipated 100m hurdles final, defeating world and Olympic medallists Perdita Felicien and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep. A two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Zelinka won gold at her only Pan Am Games in 2007. It was a gutsy victory as she sustained a tendon injury in her right foot during the final event, 800m, which caused her to miss the 2007 World Championships. She also missed the 2009 Worlds after giving birth to daughter Anika. In 2013 Zelinka made her third world championship appearance, competing only in the 100m hurdles as she took a mental break from the grueling heptathlon.

Getting to know…

Family: Parents Richard and Marianne Zelinka… Older sisters Andrea and Deanna… Husband Nathaniel Miller competed in water polo for Canada at Beijing 2008… Daughter Anika Zelinka-Miller was born in May 2009… Getting Started: First tried all the events in grade four as part of track and field day at school… Immediately hooked, practiced racing and jumping techniques in her backyard, including hurdling over garbage pails… Joined a club at age 13… Started competing in combined events at age 14… First major international competition was the 2000 World Juniors… Outside Interests: Graduated from University of Calgary in 2007 with Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Culture… Loves ideas for DIY home decorating projects but has trouble finding time to do them… Odds and Ends: Collects Christmas tree ornaments from places she travels… Nickname: Puppy tiger… Favourite quote: “Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it”…