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“Skating is a part of me,” says Lansing 17-year-old Sami Krusza

By Carrie Steinweg

LANSING, Ill. (March 29, 2022) – Sami Krusza of Lansing was just three years old when she first started taking group roller skating lessons. Now at 17, she’s been competing for most of her life, and has traveled the world bringing home a collection of medals.

Roller skating to success

Skating runs in Krusza’s family — or rolls in the family. Both of her parents were roller skaters.

“My mom competed and coached. My dad just skated for fun,” said Krusza. “They actually met at Lynwood Roller Rink.”

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When she was three her mom helped her friend Julie Jessup teach classes at Blade-N-Skate in Schererville. “My mom, dad, brothers and I all went as a family to classes every Saturday,” Krusza said.

National awards

Soon Krusza began competing and she continued to advance. She has now earned 30 national medals (14 gold, 6 silver, and 10 bronze). She was named Skater of the Year in the 2013 Illinois Indiana Wisconsin Artistic League (IIWAL). Within the U.S., competitions have taken her to such places as Grand Terrace, California; Spokane, Washington; Lincoln, Nebraska; Odenton, Massachusetts; Kissimmee, Florida; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

She has also competed in several World Championships. In 2018 in LeVendee, France, she placed fourth in World Skate Junior Pairs. In 2019 in Barcelona, Spain, she again placed fourth in World Skate Junior Pairs. Most recently, she competed in Asuncion, Paraguay where she placed sixth in World Skate Senior Pairs and also placed 10th in World Skate Junior Womans Free Skating.

roller skating
Sami Krusza performs a roller skating routine at a world championship in 2021. (Photo provided)

Hard work pays off

Accumulating all these awards is something the 17-year-old TF South student has worked very hard at.

“I love practicing hard and seeing things just get better and better,” Krusza said. “I like visiting different rinks all over the country and meeting new people that have the same passion as me. I love traveling and learning about different parts of the country and learning about other cultures outside our country.”

The instructor that she started out taking lessons with at age three, Julie Jessup, is one of three coaches she currently works with. Jessup is now her main coach, who helps her with free skating and free dance. Her mom, Sue Krusza, is her dance coach, and she also works with a quartet coach, Rachel Schrum.

The video below shows Krusza competing at a world competition in 2021:

A winning lifestyle

Lansing roller skater Sami Krusza is lifted by her partner Darius Sanders during a routine. (Photo provided)

Skating is not just a part of her life, it has become her life. She trains at Lynwood Roller Rink, where she also works. And many weekends are spent traveling to competitions throughout the region and country. “I train an average of 20 hours a week, work part time at the rink, and go to school, so that doesn’t leave me with any extra time,” she said. “Skating is part of me. My great coaches and parents inspire me to continue to work hard and do my best. I also love teaching and inspiring others.”

Sue Krusza said that her daughter has a judge’s and referee’s commission, so she is also an official in addition to skating.

“Skating is not just something she does, it’s who she is. She is a skater. There isn’t anything in the world she would rather be doing. I am so proud of the person she has become,” her mother said. “She is confident, strong — both physically and mentally — and a wonderful human being. She has overcome a potentially career-ending ankle injury in February, 2020 where she broke her ankle at a practice, which required a plate and nine screws to repair. I want to be just like her when I grow up.”

Krusza just competed at the Stars on Wheels Invitational in mid-March and will compete at the Roll Arena Invitational in Ohio this spring. This summer she plans to compete at the IIWAL competition and Great Lakes Championships and she has her eye on on another medal at the National Championships in Lincoln Nebraska in July.

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Carrie Steinweg is a freelance writer, photographer, author, and food and travel blogger who has lived in Lansing for 27 years. She most enjoys writing about food, people, history, and baseball. Her favorite Lansing Journal articles that she has written are: "Lan Oak Lanes attracts film crew," "Why Millennials are choosing Lansing," "Curtis Granderson returns home to give back," "The Cubs, the World Series, fandom, and family," and "Lansing's One Trick Pony Brewery: a craft beer oasis."