By Matt Winkeljohn | The Good Word
THE FLATS -- Malin Trollsas will graduate from Georgia Tech on Saturday and then go on a big trip as a reward, driving all the way across the country, and the travel will hardly be anything new for a sprinter/hurdler.
She came to The Flats from Danderyd, Sweden.
“My family is coming [Thursday], my parents and my brother, and we’re going on a road trip. We’re driving to Memphis and Amarillo and Las Vegas and San Francisco,” she said. “We’re renting a car. We used to go on a lot of road trips. We used to go to Austria to go skiing. I’m very excited.”
These are high times for Trollsas, who will earn a degree in business administration with concentrations in information technology and industrial design.
She’s traveled quite a bit since attending the Nike Smoky Mountain running camp in Asheville, N.C., in the summers of 2010 and 2011, and meeting Georgia Tech cross country and women’s track coach Alan Drosky there. That jump-started her U.S. invasion.
“I’ve known since I was 11 years old that I wanted to go running in the U.S., and then I went to the camps and found out that GT had industrial engineering,” she said.
It’s hardly a surprise that Trollsas always seems to be on the run.
Her grandfather, Per-Owe Trollsas, was a sprinter and won a silver medal for Sweden in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1958 European Championships. He also competed in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, and, “my dad [Per-Jonas Trollsas] had done track and field for a long time,” she said.
Always busy, Trollsas as a child was active in gymnastics and played both tennis and soccer before settling in as a runner.
At Tech, she competed primarily in the 400 and 800 meters, frequently running on relay teams, and spent a couple seasons with the cross country squad as well.
Despite suffering nettlesome bunions on her feet, she kept plugging away.
“I had very bad nerve pains switching around in my feet,” Trollsas recalled. “I could have had surgery, but I never did it. Then, I wouldn’t have been able to run in college.”
Trollsas’ time at Tech was an evolution. After majoring originally in industrial design she decided that she wanted to try and turn her affection for cooking into a career.
She changed her major to business administration, and when she returns to Sweden after the big family trip with her father, mother Kristina and younger brother Rickard, she’ll go to work in an exclusive seafood restaurant in Stockholm.
“I really spend a lot of my time cooking so I’m thinking of going to culinary school. It is my dream to use my business degree to open a restaurant in Sweden,” Trollsas said. “I’m going to work in a restaurant first to get some working experience.”
Trollsas has learned plenty about time management at Georgia Tech, and she’s confident that her time as a Yellow Jacket will benefit her in the future.
“I thought it would be hard, but not this hard,” she said of her time on The Flats. “I just learned so many new things every year about myself and how to manage. I used to cry really easily, and now I handle it … I just handle it, and I’m better under pressure now.”
After the family graduation vacation, Trollsas will hit the ground running again, this time in a kitchen in Sweden.
“They said I wouldn’t cook right away, just waitressing and everything else,” she said. “If I show that I have promise, then they’ll start showing me how to make the dishes. It’s very exciting for me.”