Student Klaudia Hartmanis had to get her skates on after winning a medal...for skating.
The 22-year-old in-line skating star had to skip the medal ceremony at the Slalom World Cup in order to rush home for her graduation at Huddersfield University.
Her amazing skills notched her third and fourth places at the competition in Paris but instead of soaking up the glory she opted to dash to the airport to get back to Yorkshire.
Somewhat aptly, she made it back to Huddersfield in time to join graduates for the BSc in Air Transport and Logistics Management.
The Polish student – at one point the world number two in her sport – spent one year at the university as part of a double degree with a university in her homeland.
Whilst here, she kept her in-line skating skills razor sharp with training sessions in Greenhead Park and Queensgate multi-storey car park.
“It was crazy!” said Klaudia. “I didn’t have time to stay to get my podium awards and I was just in time at the airport.
“But I really enjoyed the graduation ceremony.
“It was an amazing feeling to be there with all the students and I felt really proud of what I achieved.”
At the World Cup in Paris she took third place in the Battle contest – in which each skater has to do better than the others of the group to qualify for the next round – and was fourth in the Classic category.
Her successes were the latest in a long string of honours that have led Klaudia to be one of the world’s top-ranked freestyle slalom skaters – a highly technical form of in-line roller skating that involves performing tricks around a straight line of equally-spaced cones. Klaudia was introduced to it during her school days in Rzeszów, Poland and her first competition was in Warsaw in 2009.
She is now one of the world’s top competitors, with a cluster of World and European championship medals, and with her partner Michal Sulinowski she has achieved first place in the WSSA World Ranking and won some 270 medals at 86 international events.
A large repertoire of complex tricks has been developed by skaters.
They have names such as Reverse Eagle, Crazy Sun, Chicken Leg, Cobra and Butterfly Rocket.
The most challenging move for Klaudia is named Toe Christie.
“I spent many months working on it,” she said.
“I created some combos and I developed a little turning trick on one wheel. I always try to add something to freestyle, so my style is unique.”
Skating has taken Klaudia around the world and she remains dedicated and ambitious.
“I am trying to train as much as I can and I am still actively taking part in the competition.
“Just after graduation from the University of Huddersfield I went for another event in Italy and now I am preparing for World Championships in China.
“Freestyle slalom is a new but dynamically developing sport. For the moment it can’t be a source of my main income but I do it for because I love it and it makes me happy.”
Klaudia is in the closing stages of her second degree in Poland and has now relocated to Warsaw.
Now fully-qualified coaches – she and Michal have set up a skating academy so freestyle slalom will remain a big part of her life.
“I simply love it because it gives me freedom,” she said.
“There are no boundaries and I can do whatever I want.
“I can create own tricks, combos and footwork.
“Thanks to slalom I can express myself by creating my own unique style.
“There is no word that could describe the feeling of happiness when I put my music on and start skating.”