Nov. 1, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - Each Thursday, gostanford.com presents an interview between a former Stanford gymnast and team manager Tori Lewis. This week, Tori interviews Lauren Elmore. The following is Tori's conversation with Lauren:
Q: Can you catch everyone on up on what you've been doing since you graduated Stanford?
A: I graduated in 2008 and I did two years of financial consulting and then decided to go back to school. So I'm currently at Indiana University, which is back home for me because I'm from Wilmington, Indiana. So it's nice to be back near family. I'm having a great experience getting to do a lot of cool projects with school. I'll probably go to work with my family when I'm done so I'm excited about getting ready for those opportunities. I have one more year of school left after this one. I also spent both of my summers off in private equity.
Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
A: I'm not sure because I feel like there are a lot of accomplishments in different stages of life. For me, getting to go to Stanford and compete was a huge accomplishment. Past that, coming back to school and getting a lot of opportunities has been a great accomplishment and learning experience.
Q: What life lesson has stuck with you from your time doing gymnastics?
A: Passion. Always remembering the passion you have for whatever you're doing. In gymnastics, as in life, there are a lot of challenges. In the hard times, it's really important to remember the love you have for whatever you're doing. That's something that I learned first in gymnastics and definitely from SWG as well.
Q: What's your favorite memory from your time with SWG?
Q: Do you have a funniest memory from SWG?
A: One of my favorite memories was from my junior year at regionals. We'd come up short freshman and sophomore year and hadn't made it to nationals. My junior year regionals was déjà vu. We'd had a fall on bars with the last girl up again and it was just like "this isn't happening." Then we went to beam and we rocked beam, rocked floor. It was just one of those moments when we looked into each other's eyes on beam and were like "this is what it's supposed to be like; this is what we've been working so hard for." It was a moment of realization and feeling of we are where we're supposed to be and where we've wanted to be for three years now.
A: I don't know if I have a specific moment... We just had a lot of laughing and craziness.
Q: What was your favorite part about being a member of the SWG team?
A: I think the aspect of family was something that was really important to me and stuck with me. We had so many different personalities and so many different types of people on the team as a whole and within my class. But these are people who, while I was on the team and to this day, I could go to for anything.
Q: Do you have any other thoughts or reflections about the particular era you spent with the team?
A: My freshman year was coming off of graduating about six seniors and we were injured all year and didn't really accomplish anything that we hoped for. One thing that my class in particular was able to do was work at rebuilding the team and rebuilding the culture. We focused a lot on passion and making sure we had fun, and through that was really where the success came. Just focusing on making sure that we're having fun and rebuilding a lot of tradition. It felt like we were able to shape a lot of changes in SWG and bring it back to success after two years of not as good performance.
Q: How was your academic experience at Stanford?
A: I absolutely loved my academic experience. I was an Econ major and just had a group of people that I worked with from sophomore year on, we tried to take all of our classes together. It was one of the best intellectual experiences I think I've ever had. We had some people who were really good at quant and some who were really good at the softer side. Econ kind of has both of those parts; you have to think about the theory behind it but you also have to understand the quant side. It was really exciting to be in a group where the quant people could say here's the answer and the other people could ask but why is that the answer. Being on a team, even an informal team, of such bright people has made me always want to be on teams where I know people bring different things to the table and have different points of view and are going to bring it to another level. That was a really unique experience that I got at Stanford that I probably wouldn't have gotten a lot of other places.
Q: How have you stayed connected with both the Stanford community and the SWG community post-graduation?
A: For the Stanford community, it's about keeping up with my friends. I absolutely love Stanford and follow Stanford sports and love when I get to go back on campus. For SWG, I definitely follow everything that's going on online and it's great to have all the new Facebook and Twitter and Youtube stuff up - that's been really fun. My class in particular, we do a reunion every year so we've done four so far! It's really a great experience because no matter how much we've kept in touch throughout the year, there's one weekend where we all come together and it's always like nothing's changed. That's one big way, but also just keeping in touch with Kristen and seeing her when I'm out there. She's really great at keeping up those connections and is a person that's cultivating this alumni community in a strong way and I'm happy to be a part of it.
Q: Do you have any advice for the current athletes?
A: Make sure you take advantage of everything that Stanford has to offer. Get involved in things outside of the gymnastics and athletic community. I think as athletes, we have a tendency to hang out with other athletes and our teammates tend to be our closest friends. But it's so important to make sure we get outside of our comfort zone and get to experience all of the unique people that are at Stanford.