Apr. 14, 2021
CALGARY, Alberta --- It's been a trying year for Biola Hall of Famer Natasha Jackson. It was one that pushed her to the edge of what she can possibly handle, but one that she was able to push through with her persistent reliance on the Lord.
At an event in Woerden, Netherlands last August the Eagles' alum and 2016 Olympic hopeful ruptured her Achilles tendon. According to the Mayo Clinic, a ruptured Achilles tendon leads to immense heel pain, the inability to "push off" the injured led and an inability to stand on the toes of the injured foot.
All of those symptoms can be crushing to a Heptathlete with high hopes of qualifying for the Canadian National Team for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The injury normally has a four to six month setback, which completely altered the look and feel of Jackson's 2014-15 competition schedule.
"I didn't know if I would be able to make it back onto the track quickly, or at all," said Jackson. "I began physical therapy as soon as I got the OK from my doctor and haven't stopped since. The key was keeping at it and believing that God has me where I am for a purpose."
Jackson got back on her feet, and back on the track, thanks to the diligent work of her doctors and three physical therapists at the Canadian Sport Institute. Her first day back in competition was May 24, less than nine months removed from the injury.
Not only is she back out on the track, but she's been experiencing a fair amount of success in her 2014-15 season. She set a new personal-best in the high jump (1.86m) at a meet in mid-June, which bumped her to the No. 2 high jumper in all of Canada. That spot was solidified with a Silver Medal performance at Canadian Nationals earlier this month.
"Physically, I have learned a lot more about my body through this injury, but I would say most of the growth has been spiritual," said Jackson. "Spiritually, it is a constant battle in a very secular athletic environment. Very recently God told me that I am enough. He made me who I am for His purposes. He rejoices in me."
So that is what drives Jackson as she continues her Olympic push. She has the goal of being among the top-three Heptathletes in Canada and hitting the 6,200 point qualifying mark, but even more so she desires to accomplish God's purposes in her competition.
"Even though every day I strive to reach an Olympic standard, I am not defined by it," said Jackson. "I strive to live up to God's standards of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-discipline; the fruit of the Spirit."
Jackson is just about finished with her 2014-15 competition schedule, but she will pick things back up in the fall and make her final push to land a spot on team Canada. She will have a few preparatory meets before ultimately going for gold at the Canadian Olympic Trials.
Get updates on Jackson's journey at her blog, on her website and by following her on Twitter.
Assistant Director of Media Relations and Strategic Communication
Senior Director of University Communications
media [dot] relations [at] biola [dot] edu