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Getting To Know Temi Ojora

Dec 10, 2020

Freshman jumper Temi Ojora is a 2020 graduate of Wycombe Abbey in Buckinghamshire, England.  She won the England U20 high jump title in 2019 with a PR of 5-11 (1.80m).  She also won the 2017 and 2018 English Schools Championship high jump title, breaking the English Schools' record. Her triple jump best is 42-11 (13.08m). We had a chance to catch up with her and ask her about her first semester at USC while remaining in London.
Q: How was your first semester of college?
T.O.: It was quite interesting because it wasn't like anything that I've experienced before, in terms of a full term of school online. Especially because of the time difference as well, it was a bit difficult because I had some classes really early in the morning, at like 2 AM. But it got easier throughout the semester, and I kind of got to grips with things.
Q: What inspired you to choose USC?
T.O.: Well, my older sister just graduated from USC and my older brother is there right now, so it was kind of the first school that I automatically looked to. And because the track team is incredible, the academics are also really good, and it's L.A. – it's hot and it's fun. It's kind of the best of both worlds, and I thought that it would give me the best all-around experience.
Q: How were your classes last semester, despite the time difference?
T.O.: I actually quite liked them. There was one class in particular that was my favorite– it was the [Identity Development of the] Contemporary Female class, my professor was Dr. Julie Rousseau. I don't know, I just found it so interesting. Just every week, it was something different, so I was never bored. And that was the class I had at like 1:30 AM, so it was hard to wake up for but it was interesting once it started.
Q: Did you figure out any ways to get more out of an online learning experience as the semester progressed?
T.O.: Well something that worked for me was replaying my lectures after they had finished– that was a really good thing about online school, that you could watch them back, because sometimes it's kind of difficult to really understand what your professor is trying to say. They did do a really good job, it's just a bit difficult at times, so I'd watch them back and take notes, and replay them as many times as I needed to so I could understand everything.
Q: Since you were in London for the whole semester, how did you practice remotely?
T.O.: I have a coach here, he's been my coach for two and a half or three years. I was training with him, but with coach Nick's program, so coach Nick and my coach here kind of worked together to come up with a program that fit me best. Especially because in the UK the track isn't down the road, as it is at USC, from where I would be staying. So I wasn't able to do an AM session and then a PM session, I was just doing one session, and still am now because we've just come out of lockdown again, so I'm going to be training twice or three times a week. It's not ideal, but it's better than nothing.
Q: How do you practice triple jumps and high jumps? What kind of drills or training do you do?
T.O.: There's a variety of things. There's a lot of gym work, because you need a lot of power. Especially for triple jump, it's quite taxing on your joints, like your hips, your knees, ankles, etc. So I do a lot of priming in the gym just to get them ready for the level of impact that they're about to take. And then I do a lot of drills, a lot of work on my foot placement, and on carrying the power forwards if that makes sense.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in the spring semester?
T.O.: I think just being on campus, because right now I feel kind of removed from the whole scene because I'm there, but I'm not really there. So I think being there I'll be able to feel more involved. Also because my brother is there, I think it would be fun to be in L.A. with him.
Q: Since the holidays are coming up, are there any traditions you have with your family that you're looking forward to?
T.O.: I don't know if this is a tradition, but I'm going back to Nigeria for Christmas, and I've always really liked Christmas in the heat. So I think that's probably what I'm most excited for, just family gatherings, beach days.
Q: Have you picked up any new hobbies while spending time at home/social distancing?
T.O.: Yes, I love painting now. I left my canvases in Lagos, so I started just painting my denim jeans, and it's actually turned out quite nice.
Q: My last question is, what are you doing to stay sane in times like these?
T.O.: Painting, and then I listen to a lot of music and spend time with my friends when I can… that's basically it. I also watch a lot of Netflix, I saw that there's loads of new series, so that just kind of keeps me busy. I just finished watching The Crown, it's about the British monarchy and it's SO good. It's so good. And they say so many things that most people did not know about the royal family, so it's really crazy.