Biography: Jessica Howard

HOWARD, Jessica
Inducted: 2015
Born: Jacksonville, Flordia



Howard missed qualifying for the 2000 Olympic team at two competitions, each time falling just .001 points shy of winning the event and a berth in the Olympic Games.  That accomplishment, however, is the only glaring omission on her rhythmic gymnastics resume that includes earning the national championship title three times (1999, 2000, 2001), an unprecedented feat in recent history. She was also the youngest athlete to win that title at age 15. Howard won a gold medal in the Junior Pan American Games in ’98 and a silver medal in that event a year later.

At age 3, Howard started in artistic gymnastics. By 6, she was bored, and at 9 she switched to rhythmic gymnastics. It was love at first flex.  Howard has been recognized for the artistry she brings to the sport that blends graceful floor gymnastics movements with deft handling of ropes, balls and ribbons.  She has since pursued a professional career and has performed on Broadway and toured, showcasing her talent in dance and show productions, that range from contemporary ballet to acrobatic shows similar to Cirque du Soleil.  She has worked with Complexions, Ellison Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Academy, and SLK Ballet.

International Competitions:  2002 Senior Pacific Alliance Championships, British Columbia, Canada; 1st-team, 2nd-AA, 2nd- clubs, 3rd-rope, 2nd-hoop, 5th-ball;  2001 Goodwill Games, Brisbane, Australia; 6th-AA, 6th-hoop, 5th-ball, 5th-clubs, 7th-rope;  2001 World Games, Akita, Japan; 5th-ball, 5th-clubs, 7th-hoop, 7th-rope;  2001 Shishmanova Cup, Bourgas, Bulgaria; 3rd-AA, 2nd-ball, 3rd-rope, 3rd-clubs;  2000 Intn’l Competition of Corbeil-Essonnes, Corbeil, France;  2000 Intn’l Competition of Thiais, Thiais, France;  2000 Intn’l Competition of Hungary, Budapest, Hungary; 4th-AA; 2000 Senior Pacific Alliance, Christchurch, New Zealand; 2nd-Team, 2nd-AA, 2nd-rope, 2nd-hoop;  1999 World Championships, Osaka, Japan; 24th-AA;  1999 Rhythmic Gymnastics DTB-Cup, Bochum, Germany;  1999 Pan American Games, Winnipeg, Canada; 2nd-AA, 4th-rope, 4th-hoop, 1st-ball, 2nd-ribbon;  1999 4-Continents Championships, Jacksonville, Fla.; 6th-AA, 3rd-hoop, 3rd- team;  1999 XIII Torneio International De Portimao, Portimao, Portugal; 8th-AA, 4th-hoop, 6th-ball, 8thribbon;  1999 12 eme COUPE D’OPALE CALAIS, Calais, France; 4th-AA, 3rd-hoop;  1999 International 3-on-3 Championships, St. Petersburg, Fla.; 1st-AA (with Ukraine’s Alexander Beresch and Viktoria Karpenko), 1998 Jr. Pan American Championships, Houston, Texas; 1st-team, 1st-AA, T1st-ball, 3rd-rope, 3rd-hoop; 1997 International Cup of Holon, Holon, ISR; 13th-AA (jr. div.);  1997 Junior Pacific Alliance Championships, Colorado Springs, Colo.; 1st-team, 4th-AA, 5thhoop, 6th-ball, 6th-ribbon.

National Competitions:   2001 U.S. Rhythmic National Championships, Philadelphia, Pa.; 1st-AA, 1st-rope, 1st-hoop, 3rdball, 1st-clubs;  2000 U.S. Rhythmic National Championships, St. Louis, Mo.; 1st-AA, 1st-rope, 1st-hoop, 1st-ball, 1st-ribbon;  2000 Rhythmic Eastern, Brooklyn, NY; 1st-AA;  2000 Rhythmic Western, W.Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; 1st-AA;  1999 U.S. Rhythmic National Championships, Downers Grove, Ill.; 1st-AA, 3rd-rope, 1st-hoop, 1st -ball, 1st-ribbon;   1999 Eastern Open, Atlanta, Ga.; 2nd-AA, 2nd-rope, 3rd-hoop, 2nd-ball, 1st-ribbon;  1999 Rhythmic Challenge, Colorado Springs, Colo.; 2nd AA (senior division);  1998 U.S. Rhythmic National Championships, Colorado Springs, Colo.; 2nd-AA, T1st-rope & ribbon, 4th-hoop, 1st-ball;  1998 Western Open, Downers Grove, Ill.; 1st-AA (jr. div.);  1998 Eastern Open, Tampa, Fla.; 1st-AA (jr. div.);  1998 Rhythmic Challenge Championships; 2nd-AA (jr. div.);  1997 Rhythmic National Championships, Houston, Texas; 5th-AA & rope, 2nd-hoop, ball & ribbon (jr. div.).

Honors: Three-time National Champion; fifteen-time U.S. Gold Medalist; Goodwill Games Bronze Medalist; Pan American Silver Medalist; Pacific Alliance 4 time Gold Medalist; World Championships finalist; Junior Pan American Champion.  USA Gymnastics Rhythmic Athlete of the Year three times.  Years on National Team: 5 (1997-2002).

Coaches: Efrossina Anguelova & Mila Marinova. 

Family: Parents: Dale and Jenny Howard; Sisters-Bethany, Ruth; Brother-Peter.

Sources: USA Gymnastics: https://usagym.org/pages/athletes/archivedbios/h/jhoward.pdf: Ballet Extensions;  photos obtained from the public domain. Research and formatting by Jerry Wright, Assistant web manager, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who-2010.