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Feature Friday - Cynthia Jennings

Rec Sports is looking to feature members on campus that embody a healthy lifestyle and a Life in Motion! Meet Cynthia Jennings,a competitive figure skater turned speed skater. Cynthia is a senior at Ohio State and studyingInternational Studies and Geographic Information Systems. Read all about Cynthia's experience and training for the US Speedskating try-outs in Salt Lake City this past March.


What made you decide to go to The Ohio State University?

"The incredible variety of academic, athletic and extracurricular opportunities Ohio State has to offer!"


Tell us about how you began speed skating?

"I was a competitive figure skater as a kid, but always wanted to try speedskating. I got my chance when I came to Ohio State for school and found the Columbus Speedskating club!"


Tell us about your training.

"When I heard that the national speedskating organization, US Speedskating, was hosting a ‘Talent Combine’ (essentially a tryout for people with experience in figure skating or hockey who want to become speedskaters), I knew I needed to take my training to the next level. I decided to try personal training to supplement my on-ice practices. I submitted a form through the RPAC website and Cory [Bell, personal trainer] reached out about working together. After an initial assessment, Cory put together a training program targeting the types of fitness I would need to develop for the tryout, such as balance, agility, and endurance. Cory and I met three times a week for hour-long sessions in the weeks leading up to the Combine, doing a combination of pylometrics, weight lifting, and cardio. I’d never worked with a personal trainer before, but was inspired by Cory’s enthusiasm, knowledge, and investment in my success."


What was your try-out experience like in Salt Lake City this past March? 

"Going to the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City for the tryout this past March was a surreal experience. It’s a huge, state-of-the-art facility with both long-track and short-track speedskating rinks, where the likes of skating great Apolo Ohno has trained. I participated in the try-out, which had dryland and on-ice components, alongside other speedskating hopefuls from across the country. It was an honor just to be at the Oval and skate on Olympic ice!"


What has training for the Combine taught you? 

"The purpose of the Combine was to identify people with potential to reach an elite level, and so I trained with Cory to develop the fitness I would need to demonstrate that I have this kind of potential. Training with Cory in preparation for the Combine taught me the value of having someone on your ‘team,’ even if you are training for an individual sport. I have discovered that working with someone else – whether with a group of peers in a team sport or with a personal trainer – helps me to achieve my own fitness goals."


What has been the greatest challenge you've faced since beginning speed skating competitively? 

"Having only started speedskating this past August, the greatest challenge has been tackling the sport’s enormous learning curve. It takes years to develop the skills and techniques required to be a competitive speedskater, and many people start the sport at a much younger age than I did. All I can do now is try and become the best skater I can possibly be!"


How do you live your Life In Motion?

"I live my Life In Motion by always trying new things, whether that’s taking skydiving and boxing classes at OSU or traveling with a group on a study abroad to Budapest, Hungary. Life is about experiences, and Ohio State has a world of opportunities to offer!"


What advice would you give to those who might be trying to live a better Life in Motion?

"I recommend finding a group or partner (or personal trainer) to work with – accountability and teamwork can be huge factors in making progress, and make working out a whole lot more fun, too! More broadly, I think identifying that 'one thing' you have always wanted to try or skill you want to master and committing to it is a great way to live a Life in Motion."