At press time Bismarck native Lynn Kriengkrairut and her ice dancing partner Logan Giulietti-Schmitt were competing in the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Omaha, Nebraska, hoping for a top three finish and a spot on the World Team. They finished last season with a pewter medal at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships (one placement away from making the World Team).
Lynn began her skating career at the age of six in Bismarck. She attended Century High School until her love for skating took her to Pittsburgh for her senior year. “Finding a partner and doing ice dancing was a new avenue for me, and I was curious to see how far I could take my skating career” she explained. “I decided to make the move after I found a partner to skate with me. My first partner, Jon, and I skated a year together.”
She then planned to go to NDSU and be a little closer to home, but she had also put her name on icepartnersearch.com, a search engine for skating partners, just in case something came up. Logan contacted her and plans changed. “My parents and I drove to Ann Arbor for what was intended to be a three-day tryout,” Lynn explained. “However, it went so well that I stayed, since the first competition was only three weeks away. We began skating on July 11, 2006 and had quick success in our first season together as Juniors (2006-07 season), winning the Pacific Coast Sectional title and the bronze at the U.S. Championships, which consequently landed us on the 2007 Junior World Team.”
Their “pre-season” begins in late July/early August with the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships. Since the pair is on Team USA, they then travel to Champs Camp in Colorado Springs for evaluations with judges and other pre-season preparations before the actual season begins around September, when international competitions start. (See below for current season results)
Lynn talked about their extensive training schedule and how they train for lifts: “We spend three to four hours on the ice each day, five days a week and another two hours on Sunday. We begin our sessions by working on stroking exercises for building a strong foundation, then we get into working on sections of our programs and doing run-throughs. Our off-ice regimen totals about 14 hours per week. We do a 30-minute mini-workout before we go on the ice and stretch for about 30 minutes at the end of our training day. We work with a trainer twice a week for strength and conditioning, things like plyometrics and circuit training. My favorite workout is boxing – it is an amazing full body cardio workout. We also do ballet twice a week to work on our flexibility, lines and artistry and ballroom twice a week for stylization and developing characters for our programs on the ice. The off-ice routines are necessary for allowing us to do what we do on the ice. They help with injury prevention and also allow us to perform with strength, power, and artistry on the ice. We are at the rink basically all day, especially for Logan who coaches before our training day begins and after it ends.
Right when our season ends we immediately begin looking for new music for the next season. We constantly watch dance videos and acrobatic things online, trying to get the creative juices flowing for next year’s lifts. Our coach, Yuri (Chesnichenko), is very good with that. He helps with the lifts off the ice, and actually does them first with me so he can direct Logan on how to maneuver it and make sure everything is feasible. Yuri jokes around that he actually keeps a notepad on his nightstand, because sometimes he’ll dream of amazing ideas and will wake up to write them down. We practice a lot off the ice first. When we get it to where it’s comfortable and consistent off the ice, we bring it on the ice with Yuri spotting me and me wearing a helmet for the first couple weeks until it is completely comfortable and we just keep practicing it everyday. All of our elements take time to create and execute, so we utilize our “off-season” time to figure out our puzzle pieces. When our coaches choreograph our programs, our elements are ready to be inserted at appropriate parts of the music, and the puzzle finally comes together.”
Lynn does more than skate – she just graduated (December, 2012) from the University of Michigan with a degree in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. “I am planning on taking my MCATs at some point and getting some hands-on experience at the hospital as well,” she said. “At the moment, it is really nice to exert all of my energy towards skating, though. The timing of my graduation is perfect so I can really focus on keeping myself in the best condition possible for training and competing for the next year and a half. I’m no longer running back and forth between skating and school and worrying about making up work and exams I miss due to competition. And it is amazing how much better I recover each day with adequate amounts of sleep! I am looking forward to attending medical school after my skating career. I am interested in neurology, but I know there will be so many avenues in the medical field that will appeal to me. I’m a very curious person, and after all, curiosity led me to where I am now with skating! So, I am also really excited to go to medical school and find my niche.”
When asked, ‘what is your favorite thing about skating,’ Lynn had this to say: “There are so many things I love about skating. You would think after doing it for so many years it would get old, but it really doesn’t. I love that skating is a unique way to understand the beauty of learning, that the ability to learn and extend your abilities is actually limitless. Every season, I discover something new about myself, things that I would have never imagined I would be capable of, and that makes me curious and hungry for more. I love the challenges of making the impossible possible. The small amounts of improvement over time add up and catch you by surprise eventually, and after diligent hours of this learning process, what was once unrealistic becomes part of your reality, and that is something so gratifying. The whole process of training and then getting out there at competition to show what you’ve been working on. It is all very exciting.”
Does she have any advice for the younger generation? “Be passionate, love what you do and everything will fall into place,” she said. “Success can be like a big wall, it can be very intimidating. To strive for success is great, but something that is even more valuable and creates something intrinsically beautiful is to approach each day with purpose, to execute what you do with meaning and passion because you love to do it. The hard work won’t feel like hard work at all and eventually, everything will add up and whatever you dream for yourself will become part of your reality.”
U.S. Figure Skating helps fund some of Lynn and Logan’s expenses since they represent Team USA, but all aspects of training can add up quickly and place large financial burdens on these athletes. Fans can make tax deductible donations by visiting their website at lynnandlogan.com. You can also find them on facebook.
Current Season Results: U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City, UT – 3rd place Skate America, a Grand Prix competition in Seattle, WA – 4th place
Ice Challenge in Graz, Austria – 1st place
Lynn and Logan bring their dynamic skating programs back to Bismarck, March 22nd – 24th to perform during the Bismarck Figure Skating Club’s annual Ice Show. Performances will be at 7:00 pm Friday and Saturday, 2:00 pm Sunday. Tickets available at the door.