Meet Jessica Phoenix, Olympic equestrian athlete and Pan Am gold medalist
Jessica Phoenix is one of Canada’s top professional equestrian athletes, competing in Eventing. A two-time Olympian and four-time Pan American Games medalist — including a gold in 2011 — she was first named to the Canadian Equestrian Team in 2007. While her record is impressive, one of her greatest feats is recovering from a near-fatal fall in 2015 — and riding for Canada at the Pan Am Games just two months later. In addition to being a member of the Canadian Elite Eventing Squad, Jessica is also a coach and trainer, a mother of two, and runs a horse and cattle farm with her husband, Joel.
My first job ever was… working at Harvey’s when I was 15 years old.
I chose my career path because… I had a passion for riding horses and training horses and riders to reach their full potential.
My proudest accomplishment is… winning the Pan Am gold medal for Canada in Guadalajara, Mexico.
My boldest move to date was… making the decision to take the Olympic Selection process to arbitration in order to receive my spot on the Rio Olympic Eventing team.
The biggest lesson I learned while participating in the Olympics was… how important the people around you are.
My biggest setback was… a near-fatal accident on course in New Jersey, where I suffered a lacerated liver, punctured lung, broken ribs, fractured sacrum and concussion.
I overcame it by… determination, perseverance, courage and faith.
I surprise people when I tell them… that I am a woman of faith.
I would tell my 20-year old self… to trust in my plan and keep going when things get tough. Your greatest triumph is right on the other side.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that I love to play ping pong.
The future excites me because… anything is possible.
My next step is… winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020!
One piece of advice I would share with any athlete at the beginning of their career is… don’t rush things. Sometimes it will feel like your peers may be passing you by, but don’t get discouraged. Stay focused, put in the work, and your time will come.
Working as a coach and trainer has taught me… to never rush the basics. The stronger your foundation is, the higher you will rise.
The most rewarding thing about sharing my story through public speaking is… feeling a connection to people in the audience and knowing that you’ve inspired and encouraged them in their own goals.