My name is Jackie Marciano, I am 24 years old. I was born in Brookline, Massachusetts and currently living and training in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am a sprinter on the Athletics Canada Developmental Team, and I am specializing in the 400 meter discipline. I compete in the t-44(single)/ t-43(double) leg amputee category in Paralympic sport. I am currently the second fastest single leg amputee 400 meter runner and ranked 5th in the world in the combined t-44/ t-43 class.
As a young kid growing up in Brookline, Mass. I was a hyper kid full of energy in a household of five siblings. My parents quickly realized that sport was a necessary outlet. Looking up to my older brother, a state soccer player, I took to tee-ball and later baseball, and dreamed of an all-star role with the Boston Red Sox.
When I was 9 years old I had a terrible accident while playing on a train. My fearlessness led to a poor judgment, and I fell while trying to jump train cars. I was airlifted to the UMass General Hospital, and went straight into emergency surgery. I spent nearly a month in ICU, later transferred units into rehabilitation, and finally received home care after being released from the hospital. In total I spent roughly 8 months in the hospital, and it is nothing short of a miracle that I am alive today.
My mother helped me to transition in my new life as an amputee, and I was soon out hiking, biking, and being active again. Being outdoors after the accident with my prosthetic helped me realize that I could still lead a very active lifestyle. I moved later that year to Canada at the age of 10, and was soon encouraged by my older brother to take up rollerblading and other sports. I was involved in soccer, and later track and field in high school.
Following my high school graduation I spent time working in Western Canada, and later attending Memorial University in Newfoundland. A chance encounter in Wolfville, NS while visiting family, led to me re-establishing roots in Nova Scotia. While on a leisurely run one afternoon, a passing car pulled over and the driver got out of his car and began chasing me. I had no idea what to think, as the driver followed me closely and soon asked if he could chat with me.
His name, Ueli Albert and he is a Canadian Paralympic coach (former Swiss national and Dalhousie University track athlete). He started explaining the Paralympics to me, and started asking me a million questions about my athletic background and my life. I told him my name but kept everything pretty brief, as I really didn't feel like opening up my life story to a stranger that I just met under the most random of circumstances. However, a day later Ueli, who coincidentally knew my uncle whom I was staying with in Wolfville, showed up at the house with a proposition to begin training for Paralympic Athletics with him as my coach in Wolfville, NS. The challenge came with perfect timing, as I was looking for a new goal in my life, and I chose to stay in Wolfville and begin training with Ueli.
Early on the training with Ueli was very challenging, as my prostethic was not designed for the high intensity work I was taking on. I encountered injuries during the early stages, and we realized a proper running prosthetic leg was essential moving forward. After a few months, I found a sponsor to purchase a proper running prosthesis which cost 8451.00 dollars. Soon after receiving my new running leg, we also realized it would be necessary to relocate to Halifax where there were far better facilities available to train year round. I had made a commitment with the move to Halifax, that I would focus on my training to be the very best.
We went to work, training together 5-6 sessions a week to get me into racing shape. My first track season was in 2011, and I qualified and was selected to represent Canada at the Para Pan-American games in Guadalajara, Mexico. At the Games, I made it on the podium with a 3rd place finish in the 400m, only my fourth 400m race ever. When I returned home, I was encouraged by the bronze medal I had won, and focused my attention on the 2012 Olympic/ Paralympic selections. I knew I had to improve a great deal in order to be selected to make the Paralympic team. I dropped 4 seconds off my 400 meter time in one year, and I won the 2012 Canadian national trials with a new Canadian record in the 400m. I was ranked 1st in Canada, and 10th in the world. Unfortunately, I was only selected as an alternate for the 2012 Paralympic team and was forced to stay at home during the Games. Needless to say, I very pretty upset that I didn't make the team.
A month later the Olympics/Paralympics kicked off and I was home watching it from my couch. This lit a fire in me. After meeting with my coach, we put together a training plan for the 2016 Rio Games. I have just successfully completed my 3rd track season in 2013; I defended my 1st place ranking at the Canadian Nationals, qualified for the IPC world championship team in Lyon, France, and achieved a new personal best time at the Worlds with a 5th place finish. I am incredibly driven at this point in my career, and more than ever want to dedicate myself to being the best Paralympic sprinter over 400m in the world. Your support will help me attend necessary training camps, competitions, and help me work less and focus more time on my daily training to be the very best.
My life has been an incredible journey, I want to break the world record in my 400m event, and make Canada proud in Rio 2016. I want you to be a part of it!