Loyola Skater Aiming for the Olympics in Russia
By Emily Olsen, SOC Website Reporter
While most Loyola students have a lot on their plates with studying for midterms, Demetra Koris adds attempting to qualify for the Olympics to the typical student workload.
Koris, a senior International Film and Media Studies and Communication Studies double major in the School of Communication, has been figure skating since she was five years old and picked up speed skating this summer.
She’s hoping to compete for Greece in speed skating during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. She first needs to make the 40.5-second qualifying time for the World Cup competition and then make the qualifying time for the Olympics at the World Cup.
“I don’t know what to expect,” said Koris.
Though Koris has been figure skating most of her life, she recently began speed skating after experiencing back problems and a knee injury that were amplified by the high-impact sport of figure skating.
Koris has been working with John Allemand, a physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist, for two years to rehabilitate her knee injury and as a means to prevent future damage.
“Figure skating is about power, explosiveness and repetitive movements, where speed skating is more of a sustained position,” said Allemand, “Even though they’re both skating sports, they’re different in mechanics and what goes on.”
Speed skates have longer blades and the back of the blade is not attached to the boot, like figure skates are. Speed skating also requires different pushes, timing and you can’t force your movements, said Koris.
“The first day of speed skating was really funny,” said Koris.
Allemand said that speed skating has improved her lower back strength and muscle endurance and their work has helped to prevent the injuries that can result from the long hours she spends training.
“I’ve trained a lot of Olympic athletes and she is by far mentally the toughest I have trained,” said Allemand.
She currently skates every day, three days a week figure skating in Chicago and four days speed skating in Milwaukee at the closest long track skating rink, where she can practice 500 and 1000 meter races.
Koris is also a full-time student, which means balancing her athletic training and schoolwork can be challenging.
“It’s like a circus, I feel like I’m standing on one leg, balancing sticks with plates on them,” she said.
Managing her busy schedule is made possible with prioritization, lots of coffee and not always getting as much sleep as she should, Koris admits.
Though it can require sacrifice, it has been a long-term goal for Koris to compete in the Olympics.
Though she was born in the United States, Koris has dual citizenship, learned to speak Greek before English and maintains a close connection to Greece.
“From when I was a kid, I always said I wanted to be in the Olympics for Greece,” said Koris.