A for Athlete

Jessica Zelinka


  • Event: Heptathlon
  • Birthdate: March 9, 1981
  • Hometown: London, Ont.
  • Residence: Calgary
  • Coach: Les Gramantik
  • Club: Independent


There is a small fraction of the population that excels at one sport so much that they compete at the world’s biggest stage: the Olympic Games. Consider the case of Jessica Zelinka, whose trip to Beijing this summer is predicated on excellence in seven sports. To be among the world’s best in the heptathlon, Zelinka has had to train for the 100-metre hurdles, the high jump, the shot put, the 200 metres, the long jump, the javelin throw and the 800 metre – each event presenting different challenges to even the most elite athlete.

Zelinka has spent the past three seasons writing and re-writing the Canadian heptathlon record book. After setting a Canadian record with 6,213 points at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, Zelinka has broken her own record three times. She capped off a 2007 season where she won gold in four events (60m, shot put, long jump and pentathlon) at the Canadian Inter university Sport Indoor Championships while also capturing with a gold medal at the Pan American Games in Rio.

The road to Beijing started early for Zelinka, who first became interested in track and field events in elementary school in London, Ontario. She competed in her first heptathlon at the age of 16. Beijing 2008 will be Zelinka’s first Olympic Games and she represents Canada (also known as CAN) Flag of Canada.svg best chance to earn the country’s first medal in the heptathlon. To do that, she will face off with that small fraction of elite athletes with the world watching. [category:track]]