Olympic high jumper Priscilla Frederick Loomis is excited to explore new territory. Credit: Photo courtesy of Priscilla Frederick Loomis

Olympic high jumper Priscilla Frederick Loomis has hung up her lavender wig. That style statement landed worldwide attention and the front page of The New York Times after the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Now, Loomis is focusing on setting new personal bests in life and career. Although she is disappointed that she did not qualify for the 2020 Olympics—held a year after its original date due to the pandemic—she has a sense of satisfaction for all she accomplished in track and field.

“Right now, I am doing a lot of things and wearing a lot of hats. It’s a completely different book; I can’t even say chapter,” said Loomis, a graduate of St. John’s University. Her full-time job is field marketing manager for Darco Spirits, an alcohol brand management company. Loomis works toward getting bars and restaurants to carry the liquor and creates different activations (events).

One to always stay busy, Loomis has done a bit of on-camera acting and motivational speaking, and she’s still considering going to stunt school. She also started her own non-profit, the Priscilla E. Frederick Foundation, to be supportive of single-parent households and communities, give scholarships and do random acts of kindness. “Being the positive change the world needs to see,” said Loomis.

Loomis’ effort toward qualifying for last year’s Olympics was stymied when she contracted COVID-19. Once she was healthy enough to resume training and competing, she did, but she could not meet the qualifying standard and Antigua, the country she represented, did not select her as its designated athlete. She made her retirement official. “I did everything I set out to do,” she said.

“I feel good and I’m very happy physically where I am. It’s me being me and enjoying life,” said Loomis, who is eating a less strict diet and not pounding her body. Loomis is still working out and looks forward to exploring new sports, like surfing and boxing, in the coming months.

She and husband Ken Loomis, a history teacher and football coach, are continuing their podcast, In Our Prime, where they interview people about life journeys and lessons. “We are currently filming season two,” she said. “It’s definitely been a challenge because he and I are both so busy, but we’re having a good time.”

Loomis sees herself as having been an underdog and a hustler, and she is not stopping. She hasn’t given up wigs, but the lavender one is now a cherished memento of her athletic life. “It’s a confidence booster,” she said. “Setting yourself apart isn’t taboo anymore.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *