Davis competed in rhythmic gymnastics (combination of dance, gymnastic movements and apparatus handling) at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and was the only U.S. rhythmic gymnastics team member to compete in the individual all-around. In the preliminaries, she was 12th after the first day of competition, but finished 30th overall in the prelims and did not advance to the semifinals. Jessica had 36.564 points, and only the top 20 finishers in the preliminaries advanced to the next round. Davis also competed in the team event, in which the U.S. was automatically included because they were the host nation. The Americans finished in ninth place; one of Jessica's teammates was Brandi Siegel.
Davis began rhythmic gymastics at the age of eight, and is one of the few competitors in the sport who began in rhythmic, not artistic, gymnastics. Jessica was originally an ice skater, but when her practice closed, she turned to rhythmic gymnastics when the sport was suggested to her by a physical education teacher. Davis was a member of the U.S. National team for seven years, winning the U.S. Championship in 1995 and 1996. Davis competed at the World Championships from 1993-1995, finishing 24th in the individual all-around in 1995. She also helped lead the American team to the gold medal at the 1995 Pan American Games and finished third in the all-around and second in both the club and ribbon events. Davis, the U.S. Rhythmic Athlete of the Year in 1994 and 1995, retired following the 1996 Olympics, but toured that year with the John Hancock Tour of Olympic Champions (she was the sole rhythmic gymnast on the tour, which included fellow Jewish Olympian, Kerri Strug). In 2001, Davis entered her senior year at the University of Southern California, majoring in International Relations with a minor in French.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. April 10, 1978
San Anselmo, California
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Review, November/December 1997 issue (Volume 1, Issue 4)
New York Times, August 2-3, 1996