Faculty Olympian of the Week: Jenny Blow

10 August 2012

London Calling: Our Faculty Olympians

From the exam room to the Olympic stadium, Arts and Social Sciences students continue to put their knowledge and skills to the test as they head to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Four inspirational students and one alumna will represent the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the upcoming London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

They join over 30 members of the University of Sydney community as the University's largest ever contingent bound for any Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Among our faculty community members embarking on their Olympic journey are Matthew Mitcham and Loudy Wiggins, who join the 10-strong diving squad, and Paralympian Jenny Blow in the sport of goalball.

Faculty Olympian of the Week Jenny Blow - Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Education Goalball

Jenny Blow
"Faculty Olympian Jenny Blow joins the first Australian team since the Sydney 2000 Paralympics to compete in the sport of Goalball in London."

Though she only started competing in the Paralympic sport of goalball in 2009, Jenny Blow is already on her way to the world's largest sporting stage: the Paralympic Games.

The gifted sportswoman, who manages congenital vision impairment, is thrilled at her meteoric rise in the emerging sport.

"It still is really overwhelming in the best way possible. I am so excited but at the same time scared, which is exactly how I felt when I found out," Blow said.

"With sport, and even with uni [sic], it always seems like you're so close, but yet so far away; now things are really starting to feel close enough."

Even though the 21-year-old has previously represented Australia internationally, including at the IBSA World Championship games in Turkey, Blow is unsure what to expect from her debut Paralympic experience.

"I think it's going to ten times bigger than my expectations. Crazy amounts of people, amazing facilities and big crowds, which is especially exciting for our little known sport, which usually only attracts a handful of spectators."

Goalball was introduced at the Toronto Paralympic Games in 1976 and is exclusively played by athletes who are blind or vision-impaired. The aim of the fast-paced game is to launch a 1.2kg ball with bells in it into the opponent's goal as the players navigate the court wearing blacked-out goggles.

But juggling a grueling training schedule, international sporting competitions and study commitments are not Blow's only talents.

The talented student was jointly awarded the NSW Institute of Sport Academic Excellence Award in November last year, sharing the prize with fellow University of Sydney student Kenneth To.

Blow strikes this fine balancing act through an immense amount of organisation.

"Sport is certainly not something you can cram for like exams!" she said.

"There is lots of planning ahead. I try to keep a timetable of all my commitments and speak to lecturers and course coordinators early in the semester."

Blow joins the first Australian team since the Sydney 2000 Paralympics to compete in goalball, and in the lead up to London has deferred her studies to accompany her teammates in a strict training regimen.

"At the moment we are just doing a lot of refining" she said.

"On court we are testing our strategies and fixing our technique. Off court my weights and cardio programs are getting more intense to make sure I am at my peak come August."

Beyond the Paralympics, Blow aims to harness her English and Performance Studies majors to become a drama or English teacher.

"I hope to teach in a rural public school where I can provide opportunities for the students in these schools that their counterparts in city schools have access to."

Jenny Blow's advice: "Never give up. Remember all the good times and accomplishments when times get tough and always do it because you love it."

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Contact: Kate Mayor

Phone: 02 9351 2208, 0434 561 056

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