Temple Gymnast Jasmine Johnson knew she was in trouble as soon as she took her turn during the first intrasquad meet in 2013.
“I ended up fracturing my [right] wrist,” Johnson said. “It was only a couple weeks before we had our first actual meet at George Washington and as soon as I took my turn I knew I fractured it.”
The injury cost the fifth year senior and kinesiology major the entire 2013 season. She could have called it quits knowing that she would have to redshirt and stay another year in school while rehabbing her wrist, but something else told the Smithtown, N.Y. native that she should stay.
“I knew that Temple Athletics was going to grow and become bigger,” Johnson said. “For some odd reason I had this feeling of, ‘I really love this sport. The team’s probably going to need me and I’d be a great leader for the team,’ so I decided to take that extra year off.”
Women’s gymnastics head coach Aaron Murphy understood the adversity that came with being injured and having to sit out a whole year. This was just another reason that Murphy, along with assistant coach Deirdre Bertotti, selected Johnson as one of the two team captains this year. They believed she had great leadership qualities, could lead by example, and was the best person to represent the team.
“It really shows that she was willing to push through all the speed bumps as she was rehabbing back and making sure she could put force on the wrist,” Murphy said. “It says a lot for herself a lot for her character that she was able to get that done and then also continue at a high level.”
Johnson began gymnastics when she was only two years old. Her parents noticed that she could never sit still and was always flipping off of the couch. The Olympics happened to be on television at the time so her parents figured they’d put her in gymnastics and see what happened.
Ever since then, Johnson has not stopped. She was in the Junior Olympics all the way up until she came to college. Her performance over four years at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School earned her a scholarship at Temple.
Not only does she carry the weight of being a team captain, but also the responsibility of being a full time student. This means going to classes in the morning, practicing Monday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., competing, and dealing with any small issues that may arise within the team.
Murphy said that Johnson’s go-getter attitude and determination are her best attributes. She never gives up at anything that she does and perfects everything to the best of her ability. This determination that she’s developed towards her sport is not a surprise at all. Johnson’s mother ran track in high school, her father played football in college, and her older brother played football and baseball in college.Not only does she carry the weight of being a team captain, but also the responsibility of being a full time student. This means going to classes in the morning, practicing Monday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., competing, and dealing with any small issues that may arise within the team.
“She’s had a lot of consistency. She came in as a freshman and was ECAC floor champion,” Murphy said. “Then a couple years in between there with the injury and whatnot she was able to come back, push through, and she nailed that routine again as a senior.”
Briana Odom, a psychology major and sophomore on the team, admires the way her captain carries herself.
“She probably has one of the best work ethics that I’ve ever seen,” Odom said. “Once she gets her assignment done [in practice] she always makes sure that everyone is right on the line with her.”
Johnson’s leadership goes beyond having a “good technique” in practice. She’s always giving advice and helping her teammates become the best athletes they can be. The girls try to keep up with Johnson and everything she does is all about quality over quantity Odom said.
Ultimately, Johnson’s goal in life is to become a head strength and conditioning coach at a D-I level in five years. She has already had previous internships at other division one schools so she wants to keep the pace once she graduates from Temple.
In the end, nothing is really going to stop Johnson from doing what she wants to do.
“She knows if she wants something nothing’s going to stand in her way,” Murphy said. “She’s going to break through any barrier that’s put in front of her and she’s gonna go after it 100 percent.”