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

2/23/2014 - Health and Sports Performance

Hull, Jackson Share Olympic Skeleton Experience

Read More [+]

9/4/2013 - Health and Sports Performance

More Than Surgery And Rehabilitation

Read More [+]

06/13/2013 - Health and Sports Performance

Katie Breathitt Named Muscle Milk Athlete Of The Year

Read More [+]

05/31/2013 - Health and Sports Performance

SEC Announces Update On Concussions

Read More [+]

11/13/2012 - Health and Sports Performance

Jones Chairing SEC Working Group On Concussions

Read More [+]

11/13/2012 - Health and Sports Performance

Miller Joins Freeze's Support Staff

Read More [+]

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Oct. 13-19)

      Monday, October 20, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 13-19, 2014Football- Ole Miss rode its dominant defense to a 34-3 homecoming win over Tennessee on Saturday to improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play.- The Rebels are 7-0 for just... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Oct. 19

      Sunday, October 19, 2014 - Athletics

      It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. There was no shortage of observations surrounding the Homecoming festivities this weekend. Let's get into it:1. When "College GameDay" visits Baton Rouge,... read more

    • Winning Formula for Rebels is No Secret

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      The winning formula revealed itself as it has throughout the season: a dominant defense and a mistake-free offense. The Ole Miss defense forced four turnovers, while the Ole Miss offense did not commit a single turnover in a workmanlike 34-3... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-Tennessee Motivational

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs Tennessee Official Team Motivational from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Tennessee

      Saturday, October 18, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 3 Ole Miss faces Tennessee for Homecoming on Saturday.'Third Down for What'Tennessee is very dangerous, Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze said, because its talented, particularly if it gets momentum and confidence during... read more

    • SEC Nation Talent Talks Ole Miss on Visit

      Friday, October 17, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from today's media opportunity with SEC Nation host Joe Tessitore and analysts Tim Tebow and Marcus Spears discussing the show's visit to Oxford for the SEC matchup between No. 3 Ole Miss and Tennessee. Tessitore recalls calling the first college... read more

    • What They're Saying: Midseason Honors

      Friday, October 17, 2014 - Football

      At the halfway point of the regular season, Ole Miss is 6-0 for the first time since 1962, when it went 10-0 and earned a share of the national title. It's No. 3 ranking in the national polls is its... read more

    • Rebels Slow Offensive Tempo

      Thursday, October 16, 2014 - Football

      With a dominant defense that ranks among the nation's leaders in most statistical categories, head coach Hugh Freeze acknowledged he has changed his offensive philosophy and play-calling to limit negative plays and quick possessions. Ole Miss averaged the second-most offensive... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 7

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 7 - Texas A&M (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Freeze Talks Defense, Tennessee

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of Saturday's game in Oxford. For the full SEC teleconference, go here. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze (starts at... read more

    • VIDEO: Studio 18 Live 10.15.14

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Athletics

      read more

    • VIDEO: 'Can't Be Denied' Hype Video

      Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - Football

      read more

    • VIDEO: Bo Wallace on The Dan Patrick Show

      Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - Football

      read more

    • Game-Manager Bo

      Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - Football

      Head coach Hugh Freeze admitted the offense played well enough to manage the game and let the defense win it.  Ole Miss leaned on its running game, rushing for 160 yards on 35 carries, while Bo Wallace completed 13-of-19 passes... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Oct. 6-12)

      Monday, October 13, 2014 - Rifle

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewOct. 6-12, 2014Football- The No. 3 Ole Miss Rebels showed they belong among the nation's upper crust with a dominating 35-20 win at No. 14 Texas A&M on Saturday.- Ole Miss jumped out to a... read more