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Kiira Korpi Interview on Apu-magazine/雑誌「Apu」のインタビュー

うひょー、すごく長い!
時間がかかりそうなので、取り急ぎ英語だけでも先に。
あとで日本語も載せます。

# Thanks, Ville!

Interview on Apu-magazine 15.06.2006

Kiira Korpi wants to find her own way to the top

Even though Kiira Korpi knows that the training conditions abroad are better than in the Hockey-town of Tampere, she is not planning to move out from Pirkanmaa. The young ice-princess has such a strong will that nothing can turn her head. She also wants to finish her school and to do that in Tampere.

Usually Kiira Korpi checks out the new rides at Sarkanniemi amusement-park once every summer, but last year she had to pass the fun. And it doesn’t look good this summer either. At first in june she has a two week training camp in Kuortane arranged by her club Tappara Tampere and after that she travels to Tartu in Estonia to train under Russian coaches, and in july she presumably goes to Spain.

– I’m also planning to begin my driving school. When the weather gets warm I will go swimming to the Pyynikki-beach or to my grand parents cottage in Vesilahti. If I had time I would read more books and go to the movies. I like fantasies and Harry Potter is my favourite. I got The Egyptian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Egyptian) as a christ- mas present and I would like to start reading that.

At the end of may she had an test period, and before that she competed in an international invitational competition in Japan. Over the couple of days she did not get a chance to see much of the country, but the whole experience left her longing for next years World Championships held there.

– At the Calgary WC I was asked if I wanted to go to Japan. They said they wanted to present new faces and names of the future. Once there I realized that it was more a show than a real competition and that it wasn’t just about new faces either. Also the timing was a bit odd for me, in may I had already started to recover for the next season. But everybody there were nice and everything worked out.

The 20000 seats were all sold out and the audience cheered evenly for every skater. There were many finnish flags in the audience because Kiira has fans also in Japan. But she modestly remarks that every skater has fans there and the Moomins are most popular of all.

– The fan culture there is very different. In Japan the fans get almost hysterical and run after you. But they are also very polite, constantly saying “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” And because the football team of Japan was staying in the same hotel, there really were hundreds of fans there.

When the skaters were invited on a talk-show event in a big mall, the fans bought chocholate and cd’s as gifts to their idols.

– Even beforehand I got a package to my clubs address which contained among others a dictionary, a guidebook, a cd and a training gloves.

Kiira has her own idols

– I have for long been admiring Michelle Kwan, but also Susanna Poykio
and Elina Kettunen. It feels funny to skate with them in the same competitions.

It’s not always easy to remember Kiira’s age when you see her on television with all the makeup and hair done. When she now rides on her bicycle from the Hakametsa ice-stadium to home in casual clothing, one can notice that the confident and mature ice-princess is just a seventeen year old smiling school girl.

– I don’t go to nightclubs because I can’t even get in. On the other hand I really don’t care about them either, and dancing can be done everywhere. And I prefer more of nice home parties. Of course once a while you get out and have some fun, but I don’t need alcohol for that, Kiira says.

She thinks that she has enough time on the weekends to see her friends unless there’s a training camp or a competition. – And we see each other in school almost every day.

Friends, school, family and other people are the reason why Kiira is staying in Tampere and doesn’t even consider moving abroad to train with world class coaches.

– Last summer I spend six weeks training is USA. Now after the World Championships I got a call and they asked whether I was already moving to live there. No I am not. Why would I leave, when I have great coaches here? I want to find my own way to the top, and the support network is very important to an individual athlete like me.

Kiira doesn’t even complain about training conditions, even though they would be much better in USA than here in Finland.

– Tampere is so much a hockey-town that it’s hard to find enough ice time for figure skaters. Even if in the USA figure skaters have their own ice-stadiums, as a finn I want to train with finnish people.

And then there’s the school from which Kiira definately want’s to graduate. Her matriculation examination is due in two years.

– After that I have to find a place to study that also makes it possible for me to continue skating. When I was a kid I wanted to become a doctor, but I think that’s not a realistic option anymore. Firstly the studying in medical schools is very strict and school-like, and secondly I haven’t taken many physics or biology classes in school. Maybe I will eventually find a job through sports, but I will never become a coach.

Power of will

Starting to skate was easy for the daughter of hockey coach Rauno Korpi because the family lives almost next to the ice-stadium. Kiira was only four when she followed her two years older big sister to the skating practises.

– Skating felt fun from the start and I got a lot friends from the club. If the practises were just playing at the beginning, even now the sport isn’t a profession to me, and I don’t want it to become just a chore. I want to keep the joy in skating. When you can keep the love and passion to what you are doing, the motivation is not lost and it carries you forward.

Of course sometimes there has been harder times. Kiira doesn’t think that her physique is ideal for a figure skater.

– First of all my height 166cm is unusually tall for a figure skater and I’m not very flexible either, but apparently I have some talents required in this sport. From a child I have had a strong will and temperament. With determination and willpower I have moved forward.

Sometimes the family was in trouble with this fierce little lady.

– I was a real enfant terrible and my mother says I sometimes had two hour tantrums. I won’t give up and I will properly finish everything I have started. I don’t quit if something doesn’t work out immediately.

Determination is needed when you get up 6.30 in the morning and get home at 7.30 in the evening. In figure skating all jumps are learned so that first you do the single-jumps for years and then you move on to the double-jumps and do those for years too. And several years will pass before one is ready to do a triple-triple-jump like Kiira did in the World Championships.

– It’s the greatest feeling in the world when you can succesfully do the jump. Nothing can beat that.

Triple-jumps need also courage.
– Earlier I was even a bit reckless. Even though I have calmed down, I am not afraid to take risks and I am always ready to try out new tricks. Just trying a triple-jump is a risk, but jumping and all kinds of games have always fascinated me. As a child I was always out playing all kinds of games. I wasn’t a tomboy but not a princess either.

The lovely skating dresses have never been an attraction for Kiira.

– My dresses have probably been even too modest sometimes.

A glimpse on the clock shows that it’s time to take a 20 minute nap before the evenings training session.

– When I have time I will take good nap. And I always sleep before competitions. When I am nervous I could sleep the whole day and other skaters say the same thing.

Now it’s time to practice the new short- and long-programs for next
seasons competitions.

– The music for short program is mexican and for the long program it’s from the musical Phantom of The Opera. Nothing comes automatically and you have to practice hard. Even if the basic structure is same than before, there’s new choreographies between the jumps and new difficult step sequences. And the spins need to be worked out too.

The aim is to be better in the WC- and EC-competitions than on last season, although the real targets properly discussed in fall.

– Last year the Olympic Games and World Championships were my aim from the beginning of the season, although we had to think whether it was junior or senior WC’s. Torino felt like big challenge and a leap forward, but we decided to try. It was good that the decision was made back then. After that I had a clear target which had time to mature during the season.

Info Kiira Korpi
– Born 26.9.1988 in Tampere
– Silver in nationals 2005 and bronze in nationals 2006. Sixth place
in the 2006 EC’s and tenth place in her first senior WC’s. Sixteenth
in the Olympic Games in Torino.
– Was the first finnish lady to jump a succesfull 3-3-combination in
World Championships.
– Coaches are Maaret Siromaa and Susanna Haarala.

[photo caption 1] Cultivating experience. – I haven’t suffered any serious injuries. Three years ago in Switzerland another skaters blade cut a wound on my leg, and it required several stiches, Kiira recalls.

[photo caption 2] Access denied. As Kiira Korpi is only 17 years old she can’t get into night clubs to dance, but she doesn’t regret that.
– You can dance anywhere and I prefer calm parties at home.

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