Engineering student plans to kick her way to a gold medal at Rio Olympics

SMU swimmers, a runner and a taekwondo martial artist will compete for gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Rio this month.

SMU Olympic Swimmers

DALLAS (SMU)To Jackie Galloway’s classmates, she’s just a self-described nerd in the Lyle school of engineering, frantically creating computer models and cramming for the next exam.

Jackie Galloway
Jackie Galloway practices for Olympics.

"To those who know her well, she’s kind of a superhero. A mild-mannered student in the classroom, and a world-class taekwondo expert in the ring, Galloway is better than a superhero – she’s real.

This summer, she’ll represent Team USA at the Olympic Games.

“Out of the ring, I’m nice and sweet, so when I tell people I do taekwondo and show them videos of me in the ring, they say ‘That’s you?’ and they don’t believe it,” says Galloway, who goes by the not-so-subtle handle @ikick_urface on Twitter.

“I’m a bit of a nerd, but I always compare Taekwondo to a game of chess because it’s very strategic,” Galloway adds. “You get points for body kicks, points for face kicks and if you add a spin, it’s additional points, but my strategy has to adjust to who I’m fighting based on how tall or big they are. Success comes down to having a killer instinct and a mind for strategy.”

Twenty-year-old Galloway, a sophomore, is one of five current or former SMU students who will compete at the Rio games.

This isn’t Galloway’s first brush with the Olympics. Four years ago, the Texas-born dual citizen was an alternate on Mexico’s Olympic team, narrowly missing her chance to compete in the London games. This time around, she’s representing the red, white and blue and dreaming of gold, gold, gold.

“Winning the Olympics is not just my desire, it’s my plan,” says Galloway, who has trained with her father since childhood.

“When I was 7, I went home from training and told my mom I wanted to be world champion and an Olympian.  And when I started having success at the adult level at age 14, it became apparent to everyone else that I wouldn’t be told I couldn’t do this,” Galloway adds.

If Galloway places, she’ll be the 27th Mustang to earn an Olympic medal.

More about the Summer 2016 Olympics.