CLOVIS, Calif. — Clovis native Jenna Prandini will compete in three events at the Tokyo Olympics, the 100 meter, 200 meter and the 4 x 100 relay.
As she gets older, she continues to get faster. She set personal bests at this year’s Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
As a child, Jenna’s parents knew she was going to be special.
“Her brother is three, four years older than her and his buddies were always here,” explained Jenna’s father, Carlo Prandini. “They’re rambunctious, athletic boys and from a very young age, she’d keep up with them.”
Jenna Prandini’s competition rarely kept up with her. Even in elementary school, she stood out from the rest and had to wait for the other sprinters to cross the finish line.
“I’ve always been really proud of her,” said Theresa, Jenna’s mother. “Not because she’s good, but also because she’s not real boisterous when she wins.”
Speed and athleticism runs in the Prandini family. Jenna’s mom is in the San Joaquin Memorial Sports Hall of Fame. Theresa was a 3-spot star in basketball, volleyball and track. While Carlo was a sprinter at Fresno State.
“Some of my former teammates would text me and say ‘I think she’s faster than you, Prandini,'” Carlo explained with a smile. “Particularly when she ran 21.8 the other day. She was faster than I was.”
Jenna was born to run, but it’s her mindset and work ethic that takes her from being a five-time state champion at Clovis High to an all-American and national champion at Oregon to now a two-time U.S. Olympian.
“She gets it naturally a little bit, but she works really hard,” Carlo said.
In one week from Thursday, we’ll see Jenna Prandini take the world stage. Back in Clovis, California, hundreds of “Go Jenna Go!” signs have been placed in neighborhoods.
“She is Jenna from the block,” explained Carlo. “People just know who she is, and have been supporting her for years.”
Once Jenna lines up and waits for the sound of the starting pistol in Tokyo, the Prandini family will be watching in anticipation.
“I try to stay calm,” Carlo said.
“I don’t stay calm,” Theresa added.
“If she does well, then I cry, that’s just how it goes,” Theresa said laughing.