Lindsay Grajek: Your On Campus Girl Boss

Her Campus had the opportunity to interview Lindsay Grajek, a pre-vet senior in LS&A. When she was a teenager, Lindsay trained for the Olympics as a synchronized figure skater— only to have found out that speed skating replaced this event in South Korea’s Olympic schedule. Despite this devastating news, Lindsay didn't lose her passion for competitive sports. Lindsay’s love for competition brought her to the sport of water skiing here on Michigan’s campus, where she assumed the position of Women’s Water Ski captain.



HC: How did you get started in figure skating?



LG: In Michigan, growing up, pretty much everyone learns how to skate. My older sister was already skating and I really wanted to join, but my parents wouldn’t let me start until I was 4. Once I started though, I couldn’t stop.



HC: When you began figure skating, did you have an end goal in sight? Did you always know you wanted to go to the Olympics?



LG: I think I was a little bit crazy, I just never had any doubt that I was going to the Olympics. When I was little I always thought to myself that I’d be there by the time I was 12. I just told myself no matter how long it takes I would do it.



HC: Can you tell me a little bit more about the event you were competing in?



LG: So I was a part of the synchronized figure skating team which is like a dance team on the ice. It was a combination of all the disciplines but there are 16 people on the ice at once. We lift, and while we lift we spin people around, and we do intersections, and all kinds of formations. Very fast paced, and very cool because you get to work with so many other people. 



HC: How old were you when plans were put in place to go to the Olympics?



LG: I knew I always wanted to, but when I was 12 I was skating for USFSA, which is the figure skating association in America. After skating for their intermediate team, I skated for both their junior and novice teams. From there I moved to Boston to skate for their Senior US team. Synchro at the time wasn’t an Olympic sport, but while I was on that team we got a bid for 2018 and the Olympic committee came and watched us in France. They came back later and told us that it was between synchro and speed skating. But they also decided that year that the country who was hosting would get to decide which one would make it. Unfortunately for us, South Korea was very good at speed skating, and synchro didn’t make the cut.



HC: I can imagine that would be quite difficult to process. What was it like?



LG: It definitely was. I always had this crazy idea that I would do it so in that moment it kind of hits you like “ok, i guess I have to realize this isn’t going to happen anymore.”



HC: What was your transition like and how did your mindset change after all of this happened?



LG: We found out at the beginning of the season, so after that I realized that now I needed to go back to school, because synchronized skating isn’t sponsored by anything. I had done everything I could in this sport, but after that year I knew I had to return to school. 



HC: Had you ever water skied prior to joining the water ski team at U of M?



LG: Yes, growing up I learned to ski behind my mom’s 1988 ski behind my 1979 Mastercraft. Just leaning back as far as I could.



HC: Being such a competitive spirit, did water skiing fill the gap for you?



LG: I have always been competitive, but it’s not so much against other people. It’s more of a competitiveness with myself. So I think it was good because it was this fun new challenge that I could put all of my energy into, but in a very different way. With skating I gave up everything to do it, but with water skiing I could ski and still have fun and I could hang out with all these new friends. Its definitely in a way filled the gap, but in another its been a total opposite. I go to a competition and it's so casual and fun, but with figure skating it was more of “here is what we gotta do.” I think I needed something like this that was just so different. 



HC: After this whole process, what are the biggest takeaways from your years in figure skating and intense competition?



To truly be successful in something you have to be passionate about it. It’s the internal drive that will never let you give up. The hardest part is allowing yourself to give your entire heart to something because of the fear of failure, but if you don’t take the risk you won’t ever see what you are truly capable of.