Born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, Jenna Fesemyer grew up without her left leg and hip socket. She played sports throughout childhood and adolescence, wearing prosthetic devices to play basketball and golf in high school. In 2013, Fesemyer got involved in wheelchair track and field through the Ohio High School Athletic Association, and she hasn’t looked back. Since then she has continued as a wheelchair athlete at the University of Illinois and participated in the U.S Paralympic Track & Field National Championships in both 2015 and 2017. She placed 2nd at the 2019 Los Angeles Marathon, and in 2020 she earned bronze in the women’s wheelchair race at the London Marathon. Her long-term goal has been to make Team USA and compete at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics Games.
Away from the track:
In 2019, Fesemyer graduated from the University of Illinois with a dual degree in kinesiology and communications. Her family has always been big part of her life, and she enjoys spending time with her two siblings (they are triplets).
In their own words:
“You can come and compete, but it’s what you take out of it is what’s really important.”
“It’s amazing to think that this journey started for me all because of the yes that came from the OHSAA—their ‘yes’ to adding wheelchair events to the state track meet. I am so grateful for their yes.”
“I am so grateful that I have a strong community back in Northeastern Ohio. My family is so supporting of what I am doing as an athlete. I know a lot of people say this, but I really feel in my heart that I wouldn’t have the progress that I have today without my family and my community back home.”
“I don’t think I really consider myself a pioneer. I would consider myself a vessel for the OHSAA in creating an inclusive opportunity and promoting physical fitness for individuals with disabilities. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s truly about. It’s not about the medals, the records, or the money. It’s about creating true mental toughness and learning leadership and work ethic characteristics through exercise.”
“I’m going to be honest with you and this is probably unlike any athlete you’ve talked to, but I’ve kind of earned my goals. I’m really trying to become more process-oriented instead of outcome-oriented, and I woke up one day to realize that a lot of the goals that I had are out of my control.”
- Sport: Track & Field
- Limb Difference: Left hip disarticulation
- DOB: 1/31/97
- Residence: Revenna, OH
- College: U. of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
- Classification: T54