EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the 10th chapter in a 13-part series saluting the 2020 Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame class.
ASHLAND -- Jennifer Hendershott-Kinn was born and raised in Ashland. She attended and graduated from Ashland High School.
Her story is told in her own voice:
Family life for me was incredible. My parents were hardworking, giving, kind, and very loving. Both of my parents are just extraordinary individuals. I was blessed to have two step-parents that also were amazing and loving people.
I had four brothers, Jeff, Joe, John and Justin who all love me in their own special way. They taught me how to play sports at a very young age including football, basketball, and more. They just treated me like one of the boys which helped me later in life. They were all very nice to me and very competitive at the same time.
My first memory of any sports is probably my mom putting me into dance lessons as age 2. I remember the dance recitals, with all the make up, hair, and costumes. I would then go home after dance lessons and play football and basketball with my brothers.
I grew up in a very active, loving, and busy family. My inspiration has always been my family. My parents, brothers, and nieces and nephews and their children.
I feel like they are always watching me and looking up to me. Even at a young age I felt like my family put me on a pedestal and pushed me to be my best which led me to doing the best I could to make them proud. I strive every day to represent the Hendershott name by being a loving, honest, kind and giving person.
I started dancing at age 2 and danced with Opus of Ashland in my later years. I studied ballet, tap, and Jazz.
In my middle school and high school years, I ran track and field and was a cheerleader for the Ashland Arrows. I had amazing leaders like Debbie Delaney, Paul Dienstberger, and Ron Whitehill who both pushed me and believed in me no matter what I did.
I graduated from Ashland High School in 1991, and attended Wright State University after high school, then transferred to the Ohio State University, where I graduated in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in Education. I then attended a 2-year program and completed it in 1999 at Ashland University with a bachelor's-plus degree in Elementary Education K-8.
At Ashland High School, I help lead our team to being cheerleading champions 1989-1991, and won the first ever Best Individual Cheerleader award out of 54 girls in the state of Ohio 1991 for Ashland High School.
My love for gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading led me to years of cheering and dance in college. I was a Wright State University varsity cheerleader from 1991 to 1993, an Ohio State University varsity cheerleader in 1994 and 1995 and an Ohio State University dance team member from 1995 to 1997. I danced for the Ohio State University dance team at the ESPN Nationals for two years, which was one of the best experiences of my life at that time.
I have always loved being active, which led me into my later career and my love for fitness. After graduating, and with no more cheer or dance team, I was introduced into lifting weights and cardio training around age of 25. This idea of competing in fitness where I could use my years of dance, gymnastics, and leadership skills led me to become one of best fitness champions in the world.
These accomplishments led me to creating several small businesses in the health and fitness industry and I soon developed a love for entrepreneurship.
In the fitness industry, I was most known for my inventive and highly energetic and difficult gymnastic routines as well as running a motivational fitness camp for women to inspire them to love themselves, love to exercise and focus on their overall health. My highest achievements have been winning Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2005 Fitness International and The 2005 Fitness Olympia events followed by wins at the 2008 Fitness Olympia and the 2009 Fitness International to cap off my career in competitions.
My list of accomplishments are as follows.
Founder and Creator of Get PHAT Online and a company called PHAT Camp, where I traveled the world and motivated and educated thousands of women in health and wellness.
Fitness Olympia twice and the Fitness International twice, top 5 every year over a course of 13 years, which placed me as the #1 Fitness Athlete in the World for six of those years.
Athlete of year in my industry in 2008, Committee chairman for the Arnold Classic.
Written and published a book The Curvelle Lifestyle.
In 2008 won the Living Beautiful award.
Certified in nutrition and ISSA personal training.
Only woman in Ohio to win a Fitness International Title at The Arnold Schwartzenegger Classic.
Retired in 2009 after winning last world title.
Currently we are spending winters in Florida and summers in Ohio with our families. I have continued to mentor women and men to live a long and healthy life through various avenues as health and fitness will always be a part of my life.
With the help of my husband Brian, I operate a non profit organization called Carolina Coastal Community, where we help families, businesses and communities in need of relief and recovery after hurricanes. We have been blessed to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help families in need internationally and locally.
I also continue to work out daily, advise freely to others to help with their health and wellness and use my energy and time to help anyone who needs a shoulder, a hand, or a hug. I believe in the theory life is short and we must live each day like its our last. I would like to thank everyone who has stood by my side during the good and bad times.
A champion is not built on its own but by the team it has behind them.