Name: Jessica Smith
Hometown: North Vancouver, B.C.
Club: Simon Fraser University, Valley Royals
Coach: Brit Townsend
Personal Best: 1:59.86 (800m)
At only 22, Jessica Smith managed to run the fourth-fastest time in Canadian history, under the “A” standard of 1:59.90 on June 10. Her time of 1:59.86 at the Harry Jerome International Track Classic happened in perfect racing conditions and in front of family and friends. Over the 2012 outdoor season, Smith had to shave nearly two seconds off her personal best of 2.01.54, to get on the Olympic team. Smith was actually aiming to make the 2016 Rio Olympics until her successful season got underway.
Because Melissa Bishop ran under the “A” standard on June 1, Smith also had to run the “A” standard to qualify. In a recent interview with Canadian Running, Smith called Bishop’s breakthrough 1.59.82 “bittersweet because I knew what I had to do from that race on was to chase a faster time. It was really good because it motivated me to run faster.”
Smith excelled in the 1500m and 3000m races in high school, running times of 4:28.93 (1500m) at age 16 and 10:09.56 (3000m) at age 15 while attending Argyle Secondary School in North Vancouver. Her time of 4:28.93 would have been enough for Smith to stand on the podium in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport podium over the last number of years.
Smith chose to attend Simon Fraser University, a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). During Smith’s freshman year, 2007-2008, she led the Simon Fraser “Clan” to its fifth consecutive cross-country title and was the indoor and outdoor champion in the NAIA 800m. In 2008, Smith showed impressive development by running a 2:05.48 at the Prefontaine Classic. She continued to impress in 2009 by finishing third at the NAIA indoor championships and second at the outdoor NAIA championships in the 800m.
Now that she has secured the “A” standard, Smith can focus on the tactical side of the race in preparation for the national championships and the Olympics this summer. Smith can also celebrate being the fourth Canadian woman ever to dip under the two-minute mark in the 800m.
Canadian women’s 800m stars slip under radar