Jessica Tuomela

National Team
Height: 5'6"
Date of Birth: August 3, 1983
Birth Place: Sault Ste Marie, ON
Residence: Victoria, BC
Personal Sponsors: Leash of Hope Assistance Dogs

Growing up in Sault Ste Marie, Jessica loved swimming in the lakes of Northern Ontario, but was terrified of deep water. She failed all her swimming lessons as a child, but after deciding to attend Ross MacDonald School for the Blind at age 12, everything changed. She was blinded by retinoblastoma at the age of three.

She learned to swim during her three years at Ross MacDonald where she joined the swimming team before returning to mainstream school. Jessica’s passion for swimming continued, and she joined the Sault Ste Marie Aquatic Club.

The little girl who had a fear for the deep water was quickly turning into one of Canada’s top Para-swim athletes. Jessica competed for Canada’s national swim team from 2000 to 2008 where she won a silver medal in the 50m freestyle at the 2000 Paralympic Summer Games in Australia. Jessica went on to win a number of international medals including the Para Pan-Am Games.

Her accomplishments merited an invitation to the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece where she placed fourth in the 50m freestyle, and had two sixth-place finishes in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke. Tuomela also set five Canadian records in swimming. She won two gold medals in May 2006 at the Belgian Paralympic Championships in the 50m breaststroke and 100m backstroke. She also took the silver medal in the 100m breaststroke.

Still feeling she had unfinished business in the sport world, Jessica was inspired to take up triathlon while training alongside triathletes in the pool on the road to Beijing. Jessica bought a treadmill, signed up for a couple of half marathons, contacted coach Carolyn Murray and the rest is history after flying out to Victoria for a talent identification camp.

Competing in her first race in March 2017 in Florida, Jessica was fully committed and is now capturing the world’s attention in the sport. Building on her first World Para-triathlon Series win in Edmonton in 2018, Jessica heads into the Paralympic year after enjoying her best triathlon season yet that saw her capture a bronze medal at the Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland and finish on top of the podium at the Paralympic Test Event in Tokyo.

Jessica retired from swimming after the 2008 Paralympic Summer Games in Beijing to attend massage college. She worked as a massage therapist in Scotland for two years, while taking a Performance Psychology diploma course at the University of Edinbourough, and has a Master’s Degree.

In 1998, Jessica was one of 35 young people from North America and Russia to win the “Yes I Can” award, which recognizes the accomplishments of people with disabilities. She was honored in Sault Ste. Marie in 1992 for her academic achievements. On September 30, 2006 Jessica became one of the first 10 inductees in the Sault Ste. Marie Walk of Fame.

Jessica has two dogs. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Hermione. Her guide dog, Nala, is a Golden Retriever Lab cross.

An only child, Jessica’s mom came to Canada from Portugal and her dad is first generation Canadian from Finland. She enjoys hiking, reading, camping and singing. She loved attending schools or special interest groups to participate in educational and motivational speaking. She has volunteered as a camp counselor, humane society and with Leader Dogs for the Blind Guide Dog Puppy Prison Program.

Career Highlights

2019 – Para-Triathlon World Championships, Lausanne, SUI: 3
2019 – Para-Triathlon World Cup, Tokyo, JPN: 1
2019 – Para-Triathlon World Cup, Magog, Que.: 2
2019 – World Para-Triathlon Series, Montreal: 3
2018 – Para-Triathlon World Championships, Gold Coast, AUS: 4
2018 – World Para-Triathlon Series, Edmonton: 1
2018 – Para-Triathlon World Cup, Magog, Que.: 1
2017 – Para-Triathlon World Championships, Rotterdam, NED: 6
2000 – Paralympic Summer Games, Sydney, AUS: 2 (50m freestyle) swimming
2004 – Paralympic Summer Games, Athens, Greece: 4 (50m freestyle) swimming
2007 – Para Pan-Am Games: multiple medallist in swimming
2008 – Paralympic Summer Games, Beijing: 8 (100m freestyle), 9 (50m freestyle)

Major Games

2000 – Paralympic Summer Games, Sydney, AUS: 2 (50m freestyle) swimming
2004 – Paralympic Summer Games, Athens, Greece: 4 (50m freestyle) swimming
2007 – Para Pan-Am Games: multiple medallist in swimming
2008 – Paralympic Summer Games, Beijing: 8 (100m freestyle), 9 (50m freestyle)

World Championships

2019 – Para-Triathlon World Championships, Lausanne, SUI: 3
2018 – Para-Triathlon World Championships, Gold Coast, AUS: 4
2017 – Para-triathlon World Championships, Rotterdam, NED: 6

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info@triathloncanada.com
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