Freestyle skier Laura Grasemann:
Elections: Sports Scholarship Holder of the Year
Laura – when the association decided to cut the funding for your sport in 2014, you worked as a part-time tennis coach to finance you sports and your student life. Are you still doing so?
I don’t give tennis lessons any more, but I still have all sorts of side jobs. Most importantly, I work as a coach – for the skiing association and for the athletics club – but I have also worked as a hostess and as a presenter for a ski race.
If sports and a course of studies are a “dual career”, what would you call your combination of sports, studying, and working side jobs?
First and foremost, I would call it “exhausting” (laughs), and of course it’s quite time-intensive. I don’t have a lot of free time any more, so I have to try to make time – purposefully. It’s impossible to just keep on working off energy without taking time to recharge your batteries.
Have you ever thought about quitting?
Of course. When it gets stressful, it’s normal to ask yourself whether all the hassle is worth it.
And how do you motivate yourself to keep on going in moments like this?
The 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang are a quite a thing. I was able to take part in the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014, and it is my declared goal to take part again. Above all, however, it’s simply because I love my sport – and sports in general.
How will you finance your Olympic season?
From the beginning of the season until the Olympic Games, I’ll need about 26,000 Euros for the World Cup journeys, for training camps, and for our team of coaches. My most important sources of income are the Deutsche Sporthilfe, with the usual funding, and a sports scholarship from the Deutsche Bank. Apart from that, I am currently being supported by the RhineNeckar metropolitan region, in the scope of the “Team Pyeongchang”. I have a few private sponsors, and we – the team – are trying to find other supporters by means of our social media activities or the donation platform freestyle2018.de.
…and all of that alongside a course of studies in Molecular Biotechnology. Surely, that’s quite time-consuming as well, isn’t it?
Fortunately, the course of studies in not so much about having to learn everything off by heart. It’s more about understanding the principles. You just have to try and find time to do some learning whenever it’s possible – before training, after training, between the training sessions … and I usually take on the longer practical laboratory courses in spring, right after the sports season.
And during the season?
With regard to attendance, I have to rely on good will and understanding from the professors and lecturers. For example, I took part in one of my last written exams for the Bachelor’s degree when I was in Canada for the World Cup, at 5 in the morning. I immediately sent snapshots of the pages to Germany, then I sent the original documents by “snail mail”.
Now, you are among the top five candidates for the title “Sports Scholarship Holder of the Year” – for the second time. What does this mean to you?
I think the award is a great thing, especially because it’s the only one that focuses on the combination of sports and a course of studies. We aren’t just athletes or students – we have to manage to combine both. It’s a good thing that there’s support for that. Even the 200 Euro grant for the five finalists is a great help for me.
(Source: Deutsche Sporthilfe)
In 2017, Freestyle skier Laura Grasemann won the German Championships and finished on rank 11 at the World Cup. Since the German Skiing Association stopped supporting her sport in 2014, the 25-year-old has to finance her sports season on her own. In addition to the training, taking part in the World Cup, and various side jobs, she is a student of Molecular Biotechnology (fourth semester) at TUM Weihenstephan – and everything to fulfil her dream of taking part in the 2018 Olympics.