By: Whitney Bell
This summer will be a very exciting time for Toronto. Not only will it be one of the host cities for the Women’s World Cup, but it will also play host to the Pan Am & Parapan Am games from July 10th-26th and August 7th to 15th.
Over the next few weeks I want to introduce you some female athlete hopefuls you can expect to see during these games!
Jessica Zelinka – Track and Field
Family ancestry: Father’s side: Hungarian; Mother’s side: Croatian. The name “Zelinka” has Czech roots.
Date of birth: September 3, 1981
Birthplace/Hometown: London, ONT
Residence: Calgary, AB
Languages spoken: English, French (I try)
Hobbies: I love DIY home decorating projects ideas, but have yet to find the time to do them.
Rituals: When I travel, I try to find a Christmas ornament from each country I go to. Each year we get to reminisce about all the travel stories as we decorate our international Christmas tree.
Quote I like: “Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it!”
While her friends dreamed of hockey, Zelinka was jumping over garbage pails in her London, Ont., backyard before she was even old enough to compete in hurdles. At the London Olympics (her second) she competed in the heptathlon and the 100-metre hurdles – finishing seventh in both events. After a time of concentrating on hurdles, the athlete and mother to 5-year-old Anika is back to focusing on heptathlon and coming back strong as her silver medal at the Commonwealth Games this past summer shows.
Sources: 1, 2
Neilly Ross – Water Skiing
This 12 year old water skier is Canada’s 2014 women’s trick champion. The Belleville, Ont., native lives in Florida where her father Dress Ross, a world champion himself, runs an academy. She crushed her U13 competition at the 2014 Pan American championships and helped Canada to a bronze-medal overall.