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2013 Horizon Award:
Honors a graduate of the past 15 year who has distinguished themselves in their profession or in service to their community.

Amanda J. (Thieschafer) Smock, Ph.D.
Click to watch biography video
2005 B.S. human performance and fitness, NDSU
2008 M.S. exercise physiology, University of Minnesota
2010 Ph.D. exercise physiology, University of Minnesota

Occupation: Professional Athlete – member of the 2012 USA Olympic Team

In true championship form, Amanda (Thieshafer) Smock has always set lofty goals for herself. A world-class athlete, this member of the 2012 Olympic team is most deserving of the Horizon Award.

Originally from Melrose, MN, Amanda discovered a love for track and field during her high school days.

Recruited in 2000 to be a student-athlete at NDSU, she began competing during her freshman year, participating and excelling in a variety of events – including the long jump, triple jump and relay teams.

An incredible athlete for the Bison, Amanda was a three-time NCAA Division II national champion and 13-time All-American from 2001 to 2004. She won NCAA indoor titles in the triple jump in 2002 and 2004 and won the outdoor title in 2003. Amanda still holds NDSU's indoor record, at 42 feet, 4 ½ inches and outdoor record at 43 feet, ½ inch.

She was also involved in Blue Key, loving the mission of service and philanthropy. Amanda earned her bachelor’s degree from NDSU in human performance and fitness in 2005

When her NCAA eligibility expired, Amanda knew she wasn’t done – learning or competing. While pursing her masters and doctorate at the University of Minnesota, Amanda continued to train and compete independently. She now focused her training exclusively on the triple jump, a highly technical sport that requires a great deal of strength.

She gave the 2004 Olympic trials a try, but it was not to be. Then at the 2008 Olympic Trails, Amanda placed fourth, just one slot away from making the team.

In 2009, while continuing to train, Amanda was part of a startup company called Activ8. The company was committed toward creating and implementing wellness programs to corporate partners. She loved using her education to be a part of making lives better for others. The company was small and ambitious, thus allowing Amanda to wear many hats – she did whatever needed doing.

However, in 2012, with her eyes on the Olympics, she was torn between fulfilling her dreams and her commitments as an employee. Amanda decided to devote 100% of her time into being a professional athlete.

This decision paid off and 2012 was Amanda’s year to shine. She breezed through the Olympic trails and punched her ticket to London. Amanda celebrated her 30th birthday by participating in the opening ceremonies of the 30th Olympiad.

At the Olympics, Amanda failed to advance through the qualifying stage of the triple jump, but she became only the fifth former NDSU athlete to compete in a Summer Olympics.

Since the 2012 games, Amanda has secured sponsors to allow her to train full time and focus on mastering her sport. She trains with her coach in San Diego and spends much of her time traveling and competing.

Outside of the Olympics, Amanda has earned four American crowns in triple jump. She was the USA outdoor champion in 2011 and 2012 and secured indoor titles in 2012 and 2013.

She currently has her eyes on the 2013 World Championships in Moscow and breaking the American record of 14.45 meters. She’s also entertaining the idea of vying again for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Amanda credits her faith as a vital component in her journey to the Olympics. Through the ups and downs or successes and failures that go along with training, she finds a great deal of strength in her relationship with God. Her faith really grew during her time at NDSU; attending mass regularly at Holy Spirit Church and The Newman Center.

Always looking for a way to “give back” to a sport that has given her so much – Amanda currently serves as a volunteer with the women’s track and field team at Macalester College, which is also her training base in Minnesota. While studying at the University of Minnesota, Amanda also volunteered for 5 years as an assistant coach for the Golden Gophers women’s track and field team.

Amanda and her husband Greg, a former teammate at NDSU, live in the Twin Cities. Greg is a patent attorney and chief cheerleader for Amanda. One day, Amanda hopes to eventually be a coach or athletic administrator at the collegiate level, but for now, she’s too busy jumping to new heights.

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