Finnstepping their way onto the podium at the Bavarian Open, Finns Henna Lindholm and Ossi Kanervo became the first ice dance team since legendary ice dancers Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko to win a senior ice dance medal in international competition in almost twenty years. The duo has won three Finnish titles and Ossi even earned honorable mention in my coverage of the ice dance competition at the 2014 World Championships. A couple to certainly watch, it was my pleasure to speak with them about their success story, working with Rahkamo, Kokko and Maurizio Margaglio, their goals and more in this Finntastic interview:
Q: Teaming up in only 2008, your career has really been such a success story so far. You've won three Finnish national titles, competed at three European Championships and just made your second trip to the World Championships. You've also had some great outings in international competition including medal wins at the Nordic Championships, Bavarian Open and Cup Of Nice. What are your proudest and most special moments so far in competition and what have been the biggest challenges or hurdles?
A: We're proud of every Finnish national title we have won and a very special moment was getting to the podium at the Bavarian Open 2014. It was the first ISU international competition podium for a Finnish ice dance team in seniors since Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko so it was proud moment for Finnish ice dance and all the work we have done so far. Of course, we are proud anytime when we represent Finland. The 2012/2013 season was difficult for us. We were not able to perform our best in competitions and we were second in Finnish Nationals and didn't go to Europeans or Worlds.
Q: I really enjoyed the Finnstep section in your Short Dance this season set to music by Duke Ellington and Frank Sinatra and found it fitting that you'd previously worked with Susanna Rahkamo. The Finnstep being invented by Rahkamo and Petri Kokko, European Champions and fantastic skaters in their own right, did you have chance to speak with Susanna and Petri about the dance and how has their skating influenced your career?
A: Susanna and Petri are fantastic people and every time they see us skate, they give feedback. Susanna was working on the Finnstep with us during the season. She gave lot of great tips and advice for the Finnstep. We wanted to do a great Finnstep because we wanted show our respect to Susanna and Petri and for all the work they have done.
Q: You are coached by World Champion Maurizio Margaglio. What is your relationship like with Maurizio and how has he brought out in the best in you as a team?
A: He's an awesome coach and our relationships is working great. He has coached us now for three seasons and we have learned to understand each other better and better. He is really good at seeing the big picture. We are really happy for all the work he has done for us and the whole of ice dance in Finland. He is challenging us and pushing us out of comfort zone.
Q: How have skaters like Laura Lepisto, Kiira Korpi and yourselves brought popularity to skating in Finland and do you see the sport growing in the coming years in your country?
A: Laura Lepisto and Kiira Korpi have made skating really popular in Finland and almost everybody knows who they are. There are a lot of single skaters but the ice dance is still in a state of grow and I think we need to achieve more to get more attention. Of course, we are working to get Finland among the top nations in figure skating!
Q: What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses as an ice dance team - and as people?
A from Ossi: We are hard working. We set our goals and we give 100% to achieve them.
A from Henna: We work really hard. I'm pretty stubborn, which is sometimes a strength but unfortunately also a weakness sometimes.
Q: What are your goals for the 2014/2015 season and what areas do you most plan of focusing on in your training?
A: Our main goals are winning Finnish Nationals and being in the top fifteen at the European Championships and in the top twenty at the World Championships. We hope to improve our ISU ranking and get into the Grand Prix circuit. Our new programs are a work in progress at the moment.
Q: Who are your three favourite ice dance teams of all time?
A from Henna: My favourites are Virtue and Moir, Davis and White and Faiella and Scali.
A from Ossi: My favourites are Torvill and Dean, Fusar-Poli and Margaglio and Virtue and Moir.
Q: What is one thing most people don't know about each of you?
A from Ossi: When I was six years old, I did my first main role in our club's spring show. I started skating only year before.
A from Henna: Besides skating, I´m studying cosmetology.
Q: What do you love most about ice dancing?
A from Henna: I love that you have a partner to share everything from the practice to competitions with. I love doing different characteristics of different dance styles and my favourite elements are absolutely the lifts.
A from Ossi: I really like that you have your partner with who you can share all ups and downs.
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