Life Of An International Athlete: Ellinor Persson

By Nicole Connell, Contributor

Ellinor Persson, a sophomore on the Track and Field team at Manhattan College, took second in long jump, third in triple jump and eighth in 60 meter hurdles in the MAAC Championships last weekend.

Persson is originally from a suburb just outside of Stockholm, Sweden. She heard about Manhattan College as a freshman in high school through girls in her training camp, and was immediately attracted to the school.

“I thought, maybe if I do well I can actually go to America– it could be a really cool experience. So I worked really hard in track for the next few years so I could get a scholarship to come here.” said Persson.

Persson enjoys MC’s small, close-knit campus and student body, as well as the close proximity to Manhattan. As a civil engineering major, she hopes to get an internship with a top firm in New York City. Being a part of the track and field team also adds to her Manhattan College experience.

“There’s way more school spirit here than at home,” Persson said, “Back home everything is very individual, everyone is by themselves. But here we’re actually a team and I like that.”

Persson was honored as the MAAC Women’s Field Performer of the Week on Jan. 17, 2017. She also appreciates that her dedication to MC’s track and field team doesn’t go unnoticed.

“If you do something good here, you get acknowledged for it. At home, you’re by yourself so you have to motivate yourself a lot. Here, it’s really fun to get recognized for your hard work.” Persson said.

Persson, who was constantly running and jumping around as a child, was encouraged to begin running track by her grandfather at age 11. At age 13, she committed to the sport and began focusing her career on the long jump and hurdles, which are still her main events.

Since there are no school sports teams in Sweden, few kids tried track and field, and even fewer continued to compete in high school and college. After finding she had a talent for the sport, Persson was in this minority. She played for club teams in Sweden until joining MC’s track and field team in 2015.

Unfortunately, Persson suffered a stress fracture to her foot which prevented her from practicing this fall. Unable to run or jump, Persson relied on biking, aqua jogging in the pool, lifting and core and upper body workouts to stay in shape. In her first meet back since her injury, Persson qualified for the ECAC championship in the long jump.

“That was actually one of the best moments in track for me. It felt good after fighting all fall with my injury and really trying to keep in shape.” Persson said.

This comeback represents Persson’s favorite thing about track and field.

“I love running and jumping, but I also like having a goal to strive towards. It’s nice to know you can work hard and achieve a goal,” she said.

Although she loves going to school and being on the track and field team at MC, Persson does get homesick for Sweden. The things she misses most are her sister, 18-year-old Viktoria, and homemade Swedish food.

Overall, Persson’s experience as an international athlete at Manhattan College has been a positive one.

“It’s been a great adventure. I would suggest any international students that get the chance to try it out, because America really is special.” said Persson.