After talking about Ulrich Salchow's less than sportsmanlike behavior in the last blog "Oh No She Didn't: A 1908 Figure Skating Skirmish", I didn't want to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth for Swedish figure skating. If there was a great time for an interview with a fantastic Swedish skater, now would be certainly be it. Strikingly beautiful and exceptionally talented, Sweden's Viktoria Helgesson has long been a contender in elite ladies skating. She has won seven Swedish national titles, represented her country at the Winter Olympic Games and World Championships and at the 2011 Skate America competition she won her country's first ever senior Grand Prix medal. Viktoria took the time from her busy training schedule to talk about her relationship with her sister and competitor Joshi, goals for the 2014/2015 season, new and not so new programs, life off the ice and much more in this interview that will most definitely leave you ready to be her biggest cheerleader in the coming year:
Q: You've had so much success in your career so far - representing your country at the Winter Olympics, winning seven Swedish national titles, five Nordic titles, wins internationally at the NRW Trophy, Challenge Cup and Merano Cup and strong results on the Grand Prix circuit and at the European and World Championships. What are your proudest moments or most special memories looking back on your skating career so far?
A: I have so many great moments looking back but the best competition must be the World Championships in Torino in 2010. It was my first time skating clean in a championship and I skated better than I had ever dreamed of. It was the first time we got two places for Worlds and I could bring my sister which for me was another dream come true: skating in a world championship with my sister! Another dream come true was when I won the bronze medal at Skate America. I became the first one from Sweden to ever medal at a Grand Prix, which of course was a proud moment for me.
Q: Your sister Joshi is also an elite skater and in fact one of your biggest competitors at home in Sweden. Has skating ever caused a sense of sibling rivalry between the two of you or has it brought you closer together? Or both?
A: We always support each other and it is so great to have your sister and best friend traveling around the world with me. I think we have helped each other a lot. We can compete against each other at home every day and I don’t think we would have come this far without each other.
Q: You and Joshi's coaching team includes your mother Christina (Svensson) who is a former Swedish Champion in her own right. I can't imagine how special it is for the three of you to share this experience together. How do you and your family separate life at the rink from your relationships outside of skating?
A: We try not to talk so much skating at home and try to do everything in the rink. If we have something to discuss, we instead stay in the rink a little bit before we go home. It was harder when I was younger - in the teens. Now I don’t live with my parents anymore so when I go and see them we have a lot of other things to discuss!
Q: Your choreographer is four time Swedish Champion and fellow Olympian Catarina Lindgren - who I think is just fabulous by the way. What makes her the ideal choreographer for you and what can you share about the programs you'll be skating this coming season?
A: I love working with her. She knows what I am trying to accomplish and she brings out the best of my skating in my programs. This year I'm taking back the free program from the 2012/2013 season (Sunset Boulevard). Well, I have a completely different program and I have changed the music a bit. I am bringing in some music with lyrics in the middle but it's the same idea, same story. In the short, I will skate to Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work". I loved this music from the moment I heard it and I really love this program. I had a hard season last year. I didn't feel like myself skating so this year I wanted to get the feeling of 'me' back in my programs.
Q: What are your goals for the 2014/2015 season and what have been your main areas of focus in training?
A: My goal is to skate clean programs with the flip, lutz and triple/triple combo landed. We have Europeans in Sweden next year which of course is one of the biggest goals for me this season. We only have one spot to Worlds so I know I have to skate good this season to get there.
Q: What are one thing you can't go anywhere without?
A: This is hard! My phone... but then again I don't know. I usually travel with my sister so if I forget anything I can borrow things from Joshi.
Q: Who are your three favourite skaters of all time and why?
A: There are so many good skaters. It's so hard to choose! I watched a lot of skating growing up. When I was younger my favourite was Michelle Kwan. I loved her skating! I also have to say Yuna Kim.
Q: What's one thing most people don't know about you?
A: I can't think of something right now! I don't have so many other interests. When I'm not skating, I just love spending time with my fiance, my friends and family.
Q: What do you love more than anything about being on the ice?
A: I love the feeling when you succeed with something you have worked for like a new jump, a clean program or a awesome competition. Those moments are the best! I love to perform but also just to skate at home - play some really great music and just skate to it.
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