Let's Discus(s)... Sun Devil Jessica Pressley (Track & Field)
Aug. 2, 2008
By Jason Lewis
At nearly 6 feet tall boasting a 300-pound bench and 500-pound squat, former Arizona State shot putter Jessica Pressley cuts what some might call an imposing figure. She defies the 8.8 pound implement to land less than 60 feet away, throwing a menacing scowl its way when it does.
Everything about Pressley screams tremendous power. She lifts iron. She throws iron... the girl practically sweats iron. What could possibly detract from the absolutely frightening image of this stupendous athlete? Did I mention her favorite color is pink?
Those who have not become personally acquainted with her may base their initial impressions on looks alone. The second anyone gets within about a 50-foot radius, however, they start to change their minds. She finished her career with two NCAA shot put titles, winning her first title in 2007 before closing out her senior year by defending her crown.
Pressley is sweet; infectiously sweet. You cannot help but smile when she talks to you. Go ahead, try it out. People have permanently altered their facial structure by resisting a Pressley inspired smile, it is that serious.
As she becomes more and more successful in her sport, she is garnering a greater amount of attention. Rather than pursue the image of the powerful thrower, Pressley would rather highlight her femininity. In her own words, she wants to avoid the image of the, 'burly, man-thrower.' Who would blame her?
Always the optimist, Pressley has made the best out of a very bad situation. According to her doctors, she has degenerative arthritis in her right knee equivalent to that of a 65 year-old. In order to avoid excruciating pain while throwing, she has to wear a rather awkwardly large knee immobilizer. Of course, in typical Pressley fashion, she managed to make the best out of a terrible situation and ordered a Breg knee brace in a custom color.
'Pink is my favorite color,' Pressley said. 'So, if I'm going to wear a ginormous knee brace, it might as well be my favorite color.' Bad knees never looked so good.
If you think the pink insanity stops at the brace, you've got another thing coming; another 10 things to be precise. She says she began getting pink manicures right before this year's regional meet, and since then, it has become a habit. When asked if she had any intentions of following in the manicured footsteps of 100m world record holder Florence Joyner, who became famous for her ridiculously long American flag acrylics, she pointed out the obvious physical limitations of the style.
'I can't stand throwing with nails,' Pressley said. 'I tried and it wasn't very fun.'
Her cuticles may be short, but they are absolutely dazzling. She even has plans to find pink tape for her wrist, which I imagine would be a first in the track and field universe.
Editor's note: The: Let's Discus(s)... series is written by current Sun Devil student-athlete Jason Lewis, a member of ASU's NCAA Championship Track & Field program. A local product of Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, Lewis competes in the throwing events, including the shot put, hammer, weight throw and, of course, the discus. The school's record holder in the indoor weight throw, Lewis is entering his junior season of competition in 2009.