As a proud descendant of Nigerian Parents, Jennifer Madu is gearing up for the 2020 Olympic Games in the discipline of Track & Field. During her youth career, she was named the Gatorade Athlete of the Year after representing the United States at the 2011 World Youth Championship in Lille, France, where she became a World Youth Champion in the 100m dash. In 2012, she attended the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain where she was a 100m finalist and a member of the world champion 4x100m relay. During her collegiate term at Texas A&M University, she was a 2013 Pan-American Games Champion, 2014 NCAA National Champion and 2013 SEC Conference Title Holder. During her debut, she was one of just two freshmen to make the 100m final at the national championship meet. From that point on the 100m final became her home. She sealed off her collegiate career as a Magna Cum Laude graduate, 9-time NCAA All American, National Champion and 2016 Olympic qualifier. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she competed in the 100m dash and was an Olympic finalist as a member of the 4x100m relay.
Was there anyone that inspired you to become a track & field athlete?
Not specifically, I was always active as a youth and played a variety of sports. Track & field was just one of sports that I most enjoyed and felt passionate about.
What drives you to run?
The idea of no limits. Of what I can do, how fast I can run, where I can go and over anything, I just enjoy doing it.
What are your best and worst memories as an athlete?
I think for most athletes their worst memories involve getting injured. The first time for me was my freshman year of high school, when I strained my LCL at the regional meet and just felt like the world was ending. The comeback from those low times might be one of the best feelings though. Winning my first World title at the 2011 Youth Championships was one of my favorite memories. It had been such a crazy week with an amazing group of athletes, so a win in the 100m dash was definitely a cherry on top. Anything team related has always been a favorite memory of mine. Winning the 2014 NCAA National Championship Title as a team and making the 2016 Olympic Final in the 4x100m relay. I grew up playing a lot of team sports and with track sometimes it feels super isolated and individual. So its refreshing to reignite that team fire!
What is the strangest thing that you’ve seen happen during a race?
Honestly, if I’m watching things happen during a race then I’m 100% going to lose. Haha! But I’ve watched races where athletes started fighting and that was pretty strange.
What athlete was the most difficult you ever faced?
Myself, there’s nothing another athlete can do that can defeat me unless I let them. I’ve ran against really big named and accomplished athletes though and that’s always a good time. Just another opportunity to stay focused and aim to compete at my best.
What are the top three places you need to see before you die?
Ah! This is actually really hard! Bora Bora, The Pyramids of Giza – Egypt and Iceland and the Northern Lights.
What must be seen or experienced in person to really appreciate it?
Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference Finals in 2016.
If you could go back and relive one year from your childhood, which year would it be and why?
However old I was in 5th grade. I just remember playing that game in P.E. when we all had to run and sit down to make a huge parachute. I can’t even remember what it was called, I just remember it was great.
What’s a random hobby you’ve always wanted to try but never have?
Hmm, I’d say maybe learning how to play the piano. I’ve always wanted to learn how to speak French as well. I don’t really know if that counts as a hobby.
If you could hold on to one memory from your life forever, what would that be?
Being a newborn, haha! Not because of anything else, other than the fact that we don’t actually store memories well from that time. So I would like to remember how I was as a baby.
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
On Instagram and Twitter – @jennmaduu .