San Antonio personal trainer and swim coach Jackie “Jax” Wood will compete tonight at 7 p.m. in the season finale of The Titan Games
The athletic competition series, which premiered on January 3 and is hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, started with 64 female and male contenders and has since worked its way down to the elite eight (four women and four men) who will battle it out for the first-ever Titan Games titles. One female and one male competitor will be named champion at the end of the show and earn a $100,000 cash prize.
Wood, who moved from New York to San Antonio in 2006, earned her spot in the finale when she defeated her competitor during last week’s episode in an event called Lunar Impact. During the event, Wood climbed a two-story ladder and overpowered her opponent by pushing against a metal wall and knocking her off a platform.
Tonight, Wood will have to be better than she’s ever been during the prior preliminary events. The Current caught up to her earlier this week to talk about what her journey has been like on Titan Games
, how she's grown as an athlete and what movie role she might say yes to if the Rock came calling.
What brought you to San Antonio in 2006?
I had just graduated from high school. My dad, who is in construction, wanted to relocate his business. He just thought it was a better way of life down here. He was thinking about the future for his kids. At the time, my uncle was stationed here in the Air Force, so he was like, “Hey, come to San Antonio! It’s great!” So, we moved!
When did you start taking fitness seriously?
I had been bartending for about seven years. I thought that’s what I was going to end up doing. During that time, I also went through a bad breakup. That’s when I found fitness. My mom encouraged me to go back to swim coaching because that’s what I was doing in New York. Since I left the bar five years ago, I’ve been swim coaching and personal training.
Before you joined the Titan Games, I saw that you competed in a few strongman competitions, yes?
Yeah, I’m a strongwoman competitor. I received my pro card a year ago. I competed in the Arnold World Classic last year and got second place. At that moment, I became the second strongest lightweight woman in the world.
How did you get involved with the Titan Games?
I received a message on Facebook from a producer. It was right before I was going to the Arnold World Classic a year ago. I was like, “What the heck is this?” I thought it was fake. I told them I would get back to them as soon as possible. They told me they thought I’d be a good fit based on what they saw on social media. So, after the Arnold [World Classic], I asked them for more information. I talked to them on the phone and worked my way through the application. Then, I was flown out to Los Angeles.
When did you realize The Titan Games was a competition where you could hold your own?
I struggle a lot with my confidence. So, never once did I think, “I should be on this show” or “I should make it to the finale.” So, honestly, it wasn’t until after the show was over that I thought to myself, “Did that really just happen?” As much as I was gaining momentum throughout the show and building confidence in myself, I still kind of walked away knowing I would have to maintain this confidence in regular, everyday life. So far, so good.
Now that the show is ending, is there a goal that you have your sights set on as you move forward in your life and career?
As far as a goal, I mainly want to continue helping people on their fitness journey. I’ve recently gotten into online coaching. I don’t care about the money. I’d rather reach more people. I own my own swim business – Swim Strong Academy. Currently, we hold lessons at the Club at Garden Ridge. I’d love to see another location in San Antonio happen within the next year.
Did you grow up watching TV shows like American Gladiators?
I freaking loved American Gladiators
. I also loved that show on Nickelodeon called Double Dare
. Game shows are awesome. I still watch American Ninja Warrior
. I’ll also watch Wipeout
, too. It’s a lot different from the Titan Games
, but I still watch.
Did it take competing on The Titan Games to know how far you could actually push yourself physically as an athlete?
For my first challenge on the Vortex (an event where contestants raise a large series of chains), I couldn’t feel my arms anymore. They stopped working. If I was in a gym just doing a regular workout, I would’ve stopped. So, the fact that I kept trying and going, I have a newfound respect for myself as an athlete knowing I can do anything I set out to do. All the other girls carried themselves with confidence that I didn’t have. I was very intimidated by each one of them. I made a few close friends, but every person I would face, I was like, “Wow, they’re stronger and faster than me.” So, I ended up surprising myself when I beat the girls who I thought were going to beat me.
Did you feel more pressure during a competition like this because you knew millions of people would be watching you on TV?
Definitely. The fact that NBC was the network and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was the host, it was more pressure, especially with the lights and the cameras and putting on makeup and everything else. We were pulled here and there for interviews. There were a lot of pieces to the puzzle. It’s showbusiness. You don’t get to just compete and be done. There was always something else to do.
As a female athlete, do you think about the little girls you are inspiring when they see you compete on a platform this big?
When parents reach out to me and tell me their kids are watching and cheering me on, that is the most rewarding part of this whole thing. I got into swim coaching so that I could be a role model and teach [students] how to swim and how to be strong. I want my swim kids to grow up and know they can be strong, too. I want girls to know that it’s OK to be strong in any aspect of their lives they want. Just to know that I’ve had an impact on young kids’ lives at the moment, I would love to keep that momentum going.
If the Rock gives you a call in a few months and asks you to co-star with him in his new action movie, is that an automatic yes?
(Laughs) I mean, if it’s a superhero position, I might consider it, yeah!
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