Michelle Jenneke Dances To Fame
See why the Australian hurdler became an internet sensation
Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke was one of last year’s breakout athletes, though her success had more to do with her preparation for the race than the race itself. Prior to the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Jenneke famously spent a few moments jiggling and shaking her hips to warm up for the race. That pre-race shake — put in slow-motion and mixed with upbeat dance music — became one of the year’s biggest viral videos (21 million YouTube hits and counting) and turned Jenneke into a star. Before long, Sports Illustrated called to see if she wanted to appear in the 2013 Swimsuit issue alongside other athletes including pro surfer Alana Blanchard and Dutch field hockey players Eva De Goede and Ellen Hoog.
In the video below, Jenneke discusses her SI photo shoot and shows off her famous dance moves.
Jenneke, to her credit, had no idea what kind of phenomenon she had started during her pre-race routine. “I wouldn’t say that I really came up with it,” the hurdler says of the dance. “It’s just something that sort of happened in one of my races. Someone got ahold of the footage and decided to post it on YouTube. And somehow it racked up a lot of hits.” Also worth noting: Jenneke ended up winning her heat in the video that went viral and ultimately finished fifth in the 100-meter hurdle. She’s expected to represent Australia in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Who knows what kind of celebratory dance she has planned if she reaches the medal podium.