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Jennifer Rodriguez: 1976—: Olympic Speed Skater

Competed In Nagano Olympics

By 1998 Rodriguez had improved enough to compete at the Nagano Olympics. Coach Tom Cushman told the Houston Chronicle, "She shocked the speedskating world." Rodriguez was only the second woman ever to compete in four Olympic speedskating events, and she finished in the top ten in three of them. In the 3,000 meters she came in fourth, just missing the bronze medal. She was the first American woman to compete in four winter events since skater Beth Heiden in 1980.

At a Glance . . .

Born June 8, 1976, in Miami, Florida; daughter of Joe and Barbara Rodriguez; married K.C. Boutiette, April 13, 2002. Education: Florida International School; Carroll College, Waukesha, WI.

Career: In-line skater; speedskater.

Awards: Five gold medals and one bronze medal, Junior World Rollerskating Championships, 1992; bronze medals, 1,000 meters and 1,500 meters, Salt Lake City Olympics, 2002.

Rodriguez is the first Hispanic-American to compete in the Winter Olympics. She told Sports Illustrated For Kids that she was proud of this fact and noted, "I get a lot of support from the Hispanic population." She told the Houston Chronicle that she was disappointed that her father spoke only English at home and did not teach her Spanish when she was growing up: "Being a role model and spokesperson for Hispanics is something that's very important to me."

In 2000 Rodriguez and Boutiette moved to Utah to train at the high altitude where the 2002 Olympic Games would be held. At the U.S. Olympic Trials for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Rodriguez hoped to qualify to compete in the 1,000-meter, 1,500-meter, 3,000-meter, and 5,000-meter speedskating events. She told the Houston Chronicle, "At the last Games, I was just thrown into the mix. Four years have gone by, and I've definitely had my ups and downs since then. I'm definitely on my way back up. Now, instead of just going out to see what I can do, I definitely want to medal."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dudley Randall Biography - A Poet from an Early Age to Ferrol Sams Jr BiographyJennifer Rodriguez: 1976—: Olympic Speed Skater Biography - Turned To Ice Skating From Roller Skating, Competed In Nagano Olympics, Salt Lake City Olympics