PARK CITY, UT (June 10) - After jumping for most of her life and competing for the U.S. Ski Team for two years, Brenna Ellis (Park City, UT), a student at Westminster College, is retiring from her competitive career. Ellis took a few moments to reflect on her years of pioneering in the field of women's ski jumping.
"Brenna has been a big part of women's ski jumping in the U.S. and she should be very proud of her pioneering efforts to gain attention for this rising sport," U.S. Nordic Program Director John Farra said. "She was named to the first womens U.S. Ski Jumping Team in 2006 and was a key part of one of the best teams in the world for two and a half years. I wish Brenna luck in school and hope she remains connected to the great sport of ski jumping."
Ellis was immediately interested in the ski jumps at Utah Olympic Park when they were constructed in the mid-Nineties. Eventually she had the chance to try the 2002 Olympic venue out as a Friday afternoon after-school activity and from there she was hooked.
Ellis joined Park City's National Sports Foundation's jumping program the following winter and competed in the demo events when women's jumping was introduced to the Junior World Championships. Ellis was later 16th in '06 when women's jumping formally was added to the JWCs schedule.
According to the life-long jumper, the decision to leave the sport had been something she had wrestled with for some time.
"I had been going back and forth for a while, but at the end of each season after I had a month off I was ready to go back to the sport," Ellis said. "But after I hurt my knee this year and after having spent time away from jumping I realized that it wasn't what I wanted to do anymore."
For Ellis, who had jumped with her teammates for over 14 years, she will miss the competition aspect of her sport the most.
"The trips to Europe and getting the experience in international competition was fun. Also, competing at nationals was always one of my favorite events of the year," Ellis said. "The only thing I feel that I missed out on was everyone getting ready for World Championships. It was something we were all excited about after they told us we were going to be able to compete and to not actually be there was hard."
But, as far as Ellis is concerned, it has been a welcome change to invest in her life back at home.
"It's been nice to have some time to be able to do my own thing," Ellis said.
Ellis, who could only attend school and work part time due to a heavy competition schedule, is excited to dive full time into school and continue her work with a local online company.
"I'm going to Westminster College in Salt Lake and majoring in environmental studies. I've also been working for backcounty.com, which has been a lot of fun," Ellis said.
While the distant future is a mystery to Ellis, she knows where she will be permanently for the next 24 months, and she couldn't be happier.
"I have two more years of school and I love it. It's been fun to meet new people there and do the college thing," Ellis said.
Ellis was honored as a retiring athlete in May at USSA's annual Congress Awards Dinner,