Hull, Jackson Share Olympic Skeleton Experience

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Kristina Hull
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Kristina Hull
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Feb. 23, 2014

Photo Gallery | Kristina Hull's Team USA Bio

By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss head football strength and conditioning coach Paul Jackson and his fiancée, Kristina Hull, have watched the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia with a trained eye.

Hull would rather be competing than watching, and she made a run at doing just that as an Olympic hopeful in the skeleton.

The Colorado Springs native played softball at Georgia Tech, and then after college, she was a graduate assistant strength coach at LSU, where she met Jackson, who was then an assistant strength coach working with the Tiger football and volleyball teams.

While at LSU, one of Hull's co-workers, Juan Pablo Reggiardo, knew Olympic bobsledder Valerie Fleming and told her that she should give the event a shot. Hull got in touch with Fleming and learned about the combine, where USA Bobsled & Skelton identify talent.

"I always had this dream to be in the Olympics," Hull said. "My father (Mitch Hull) was an alternate for the 1984 Olympics in wrestling, and then he was the U.S. National Team Director for USA Wrestling. We grew up in Colorado Springs, where the U.S. Olympic Trainer Center is located. He's been to every Olympics working for them since the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. I grew up around the Olympics. I love it, and I love Bob Costas, the Olympic music and everything."

Getting ready for the combine, most of the tests were about strength and power, such as power cleans, sprints and squats, which were similar to things she had previously done as a student-athlete and later a graduate assistant coach. Her preparation for the combine, Jackson said, not only helped her grow as an athlete but also develop as a coach.

"He knows I dream big, and he was so supportive," said Hull of Jackson. "At the beginning, I needed a lot of help with my speed work, and he's a beast at strength and conditioning and speed work, so he really coached me through my speed work. He's a coach, so he always knew what to say. He knew what I needed to get out of every weight training session to get better, and if he needed to get on me, he got on me. He was my biggest supporter. He was awesome."

After the combine in 2010, Hull decided on the sport of skeleton, in which a person rides a small sled down a frozen track while laying face down. She participated in the 2010-11 America's Cup and placed 10th in Lake Placid and 11th in Calgary.

Hull's Olympic journey continued with a 14th-place showing in the 2012-13 North American Cup and a 10th-place finish at the 2013 National Championships. She continued to train and compete leading up to the 2014 Olympic Trials in October 2013.

"The top two females get to go to the Olympics, and the rest of us either fly on a different circuit or practice until the next Olympic year," Hull said. "Everything builds to the Olympics. You have four years of practice, and then you try to make the Olympic team every four years."

Over the two-day Olympic trials in Park City, Utah, Hull finished 16th and 14th, respectively. Katie Uhlaender, now a three-time Olympian, and Noelle Pikus-Pace, a two-timer, earned the two women's spots to represent the United States in skeleton.

At the Olympic event in Sochi, 20 competitors completed four runs over two days, Feb. 13-14, and medals were awarded based on total time over the four runs, with the winner having the lowest overall time. Pikus-Pace won the silver medal, while Uhlaender was a mere 0.04 seconds from the medal stand.

"It's cool to see the people that I have competed against the last four years represent our country and do well," Hull said. "It's hard at the same time because you want to be there."

"I met a lot of the people when I went to the training, so it was cool to see people who she's friends with and I met compete on the highest stage," Jackson added. "I was kind of worried, and I wasn't sure if she would be upset watching the Olympics. She's been enjoying it, and it made me get into it."

Hull said she has decided to not go through the next Olympic cycle, because she's ready to focus on her career and family. She is currently a personal trainer and will soon make the decision whether to continue with personal training or get back into strength and conditioning. Hull and Jackson are set to be married on May 17.

"It was an amazing opportunity," said Hull of her experience with skeleton. "It was a true blessing that I got to do it because not many people get to live out their dream, and I did that. I got to compete with Olympians for four years. I did not make it to the Olympics, but my teammates did. Being able to make it to the Olympic trials was a dream come true. It was one of the coolest things to happen to me.

"The best thing is that since the Olympics have been on TV, people know about skeleton. And that's really fun for me. Hopefully, they remember for more than 10 minutes after the Olympics are over."

Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Chadwick'sTop Moments: No. 10

      Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - Men's Tennis

      Moving along chronologically, today we delve into the top 10 moments of Ole Miss men's tennis coach Billy Chadwick continuing with the 2005 season, which was one of the most exciting seasons in Ole Miss tennis history. In 2005, the... read more

    • VIDEO: SEC Network 'Take It All In' Promo

      Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - Athletics

      read more

    • Chadwick's Top Moments: No. 11

      Monday, April 21, 2014 - Men's Tennis

      On this Monday we take a look at moment No. 11 of the top moments in Billy Chadwick's career.  This moment encompasses a year full of great accomplishments that Chadwick made the norm for the Ole Miss tennis program.  In... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (April 14-20)

      Monday, April 21, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewApril 14-20, 2014Baseball- Ole Miss went 1-2 last week vs. No. 7 LSU, dropping a 13-inning affair in the series opener before taking game two and falling in the series finale.- Ole Miss became the... read more

    • Baseball Scorecards Tell the Story

      Monday, April 21, 2014 - Baseball

      Earlier this baseball season, Ole Miss tied a game on a dropped fly ball with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, which was a case of deja vu for Ole Miss fan Curtis Wilkie, who remembered the same... read more

    • Closing Time

      Monday, April 21, 2014 - Women's Golf

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Normal 0 false false false EN-US... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-LSU Highlights

      Saturday, April 19, 2014 - Baseball

      read more

    • Rebels Drop Series With Shutout Loss To LSU

      Saturday, April 19, 2014 - Baseball

      Sam Smith posted his eighth straight quality start, but it was not enough, as LSU shut out Ole Miss 2-0 Saturday afternoon to take the three-game series. It was the first time that the Rebels had been shutout since a... read more

    • Rainy Start to the SEC Championships

      Friday, April 18, 2014 - Women's Golf

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Ole Miss women's golf sports information... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-LSU Highlights

      Friday, April 18, 2014 - Baseball

      read more

    • Bousfield's 4-For-4 Game Lifts Rebels To Win

      Friday, April 18, 2014 -

      LSU looked to have gotten out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, but right fielder Mark Laird dropped a fly ball in foul territory that would have been the final out and send the game to the fifth down... read more

    • Rebel Road Trip 2014: Look Back Video

      Friday, April 18, 2014 - Athletics

      BancorpSouth Rebel Road Trip 2014: Look Back Video from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Ellis Duels Nola To A Draw In Series Opener

      Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Baseball

      For eight innings, Chris Ellis dueled Aaron Nola, the Southeastern Conference's leader in strikeouts (84) and earned run average (0.70) to a draw, as he left with the game with the score tied at 2-2. It was the eighth time... read more

    • I'm Back

      Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Women's Golf

      Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Ole Miss women's golf sports information... read more

    • Two More Second-Round Projections For Moncrief

      Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Football

      Two new mock drafts released this week has former wide receiver Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief being selected in the late second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, set for May 8-10. NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks projects Moncrief... read more