Michelle Jenneke is the surprise face of the Rio Olympic Games


SHE’S ranked 55th in the world and is yet to make it past the semi-finals at a major championships but Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke is the surprise face of the Rio Games.

Jenneke is featured on monster billboards around the host city as part of a Coca Cola sponsorship role with only the world’s greatest sprinter, Usain Bolt, challenging her for exposure.
The Sydney University student received worldwide media attention when her warm-up routine at World Junior Athletics Championships in 2012 went viral, with the famous dance featuring in the marketing push.
A TV commercial has been released in Australia with Jenneke named a #ThatsGold ambassador which is the theme of the Coca Cola’s global Olympic campaign that uses 79 athletes from 23 countries across a variety of sports.
The 23-year-old has previously stated she wanted to get the focus more on her performances on the track and was surprised when approached about the new role last year.
“It was pretty incredible really, Coke are such a globally well-known company and they have had such a strong partnership with the Olympic Games,” Jenneke said.
“It’s really great to have been a part of it and they wanted me to help represent their brand.
Michelle Jenneke will become a favourite of the Olympic crowds thanks to her appearance in a Coke advertising campaign. Pics Adam Head.                                                                                                              
“The shoot was a lot of fun, it was actually shot in Barcelona. I went on a sneaky tour to Barcelona, no-one knew, not even my friends, I didn’t tell anyone.
“That was the end of September last year so it’s been under wraps for quite a while so it’s pretty awesome now that it’s actually out there and got all that exposure.
“It was really great to be a part of it, so many amazing athletes out there and Coke just have a really fun vibe. I had a really good time with it.”
Jenneke believes she’s got the balance right between her modelling, university studies and training in the lead-up to her Olympic debut.
“It can be a little bit challenging but I have got a really good support network behind me and they really help to manage my time well, especially my mum who is also my manager, she pieces things together really well for me,” she said.
With the injury to reigning Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson, the torch has been handed to Jenneke who was a semi-finalist at last year’s world championships in Beijing.

She hasn’t reached the same heights this year with her season’s best of 12.93 sec — recorded at the Olympic trials in Sydney in April — equal 55th on the world rankings.
Jenneke decided to stay and train in Australia throughout the winter rather than race on the European circuit.
“I got some really good training blocks in, being in Australia and being with my coach, just in a familiar environment although I haven’t been able to get many fast races out because it’s pretty tough racing in Australia during winter,” she said.
“I haven’t been as fast as I would have liked but training is really good, I’m in the best training shape I’ve been in my life so I think it won’t take much for me to transfer that into a race.”

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