Emily Jackson is a two-time world kayaking champion, and she wasn’t about to let being nine months pregnant stop her from winning another competition. Jackson, 23, won the Payette River Games in Idaho last weekend, making it the seventh competition she has entered while pregnant.
Not only did she win the Games, but she beat out the current world champion, Claire O’Hara, of England.
Emily Jackson is the 2012 World Cup Champion, 2009 Women’s World Freestyle Champion, and 2011 Silver Medalist. She has been part of the U.S. Canoe/Kayak Team for 10 years. Jackson first got her start in kayaking back in 2002 from her father, who was a 1992 Olympian and also started the No.1 whitewater kayaking manufacturing company in the world. She said competing again this year was something she was passionate about.
“Last weekend was the last event of the U.S. tour,” Jackson told GrindTV. “I have been competing since April, and I am shocked that the last two weekends were the events I have won. Part of it may have to do with my relaxed attitude where I honestly had no expectations but in my heart always knew I could win. I probably would continue to compete this up coming weekend if there was one. But I am very excited to go home, wash the baby blankets, and make sure I am ready for the first crazy month of parenthood.”
Her due date is July 19.
“I was told by several doctors that as long as I was doing what my body was accustomed to that it would be safe for me and my baby,” she told GrindTV. “With certain instructions such as avoiding impact, I knew what my limitations were and how to paddle within the limits. I also made sure to paddle almost every single day to maintain my physical state to ensure I wasn’t stopping and starting up again which was the doctor’s biggest concern.”
She said she went into the competitions with low expectations, which helped her paddle within her limits. Although she didn’t expect much, she ended up winning in several categories.
“When I am sitting still, he moves and kicks around almost confused as to why I am not moving around,” she said. “I think he didn’t get as much rocking and rolling around while I was doing flips as people think as he was always in the same position within me during all my paddling sessions.”
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