Photo By Tiffany Swanson
For someone who didn’t expect to become a professional track and field athlete, Amanda Smock has come a long way. A former NDSU track and field star, she still holds the NDSU indoor and outdoor triple jump records – which she hopes and expects will be broken soon. Now a professional competitor in triple jump, Smock has won multiple national titles and competed as the only U.S. competitor for the triple jump during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Formerly known as Amanda Thieschafer, Smock competed for NDSU from 2001-2004. She says it was the success of the track and field program that convinced Smock to pursue the university. She was attracted to the coaching style – which she found to be confident and optimistic – and the athletes – which she considered strong and well-rounded. And when she became a Bison, it was the events –the triple and long jumps and the 100 meter dash and 4×100 meter relay – that became the focus of her time and energy while she was a student.
Despite her dedication to the sport and the work ethic and skill that led to her numerous successes as a student-athlete, Smock didn’t expect to finish school and become a professional athlete. “It kind of just worked itself out that way,” said Smock.
When she graduated in 2004, Smock knew she wasn’t ready to stop competing. At the time, she thought she would continue the sport for only a few years. “That was ten years ago,” Smock says with a laugh. “Once the Olympics started to be a realistic thing, then that was a goal, and now, after the 2012 Olympics, the 2016 Olympics aren’t that far away anymore.”
Besides making it to the 2012 Summer Olympics (and celebrating her birthday during the opening ceremony), Smock has also won numerous USA Outdoor and Indoor Championships for triple jump. In June, she took home her third USA Outdoor Championship for triple jump.
Smock has made it to the national stage as a professional athlete, but that doesn’t mean she has cut ties with her former alma mater. She and her husband, also a former Bison track and fielder, still keep in touch with former teammates and head coach Ryun Godfrey. Godfrey and former event coach Brent Parmer were two of Smock’s biggest influences while she was a Bison. Their nurturing coaching styles instilled confidence in Smock and pushed her towards her greatest potential as an athlete.
In July, Smock returned to her former school to help out with an NDSU-sponsored track and field camp. She acted as a clinician, coaching high school track and field athletes in both triple and long jump.
Smock enjoys teaching the sport, and while she enjoys coaching both the men’s and women’s track and field teams at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., Smock isn’t done competing herself. The next couple of years appear promising for Smock’s athletic career. She says her third USA outdoor championship has motivated her and convinced her that she is on the right path. The 2014 season will finish in October, and she will have a one month break before she begins training for the 2015 season. Rio de Janeiro Brazil will hold the 2016 Summer Olympics, and she says if she stays healthy and injury-free and is still having fun, she will continue pursuing a spot. Smock’s sights are set high, but she’s made the cut before and if she stays on the path she is now, it’s likely we’ll be cheering for her again in Rio de Janeiro.