Apu-magazine published an interview with Kiira and her sister Petra in the summer. Web-version of the article in Finnish, along with some photos, is available here: http://www.apu.fi/ihmiset/article142881-1.html
English transcript of the interview:
We share the same taste in men
Who would have thought that the girl chosen as most positive Finn was a stubborn shrew when she was younger. Sparks flew when Kiira and her two years older sister crossed paths. Nowadays they think they don’t see each other often enough.
I always remember when we were going somewhere and our mother had selected the clothes for us. I could’t decide whether I wanted to put on the underwear with elephants or teddybears pictures, so I just pulled on both of them. Petra got angry and asked what she’s going to wear now, I just pointed the laundry basket and calmly told her to take what ever is there. I know I was an annoying little sister, if Petra had to go to the bathroom I would run there to reserve it even if I didn’t have any need for it.
Petra was clearly the easier child, but even she didn’t let me boss her around every possible way. The two year difference in age gave her just enough head start so that she could kick my butt in physical confrontations. And those happened often, arguments usually ended with us scratching and biting each other like angry cats.
Petra begun skating in Tappara when she was four. After learning the basic skills she started to develop an own unique skating style. She was much more flexible than me and had better artistry. She had perfect control over her body so that the wholeness looked beautifull. In jumps she was much more cautious, she didn’t go head first to new tricks but tried everything new carefully first. As a proud little sister I followed Petra’s practices at the rink and announced that I wanted to begun skating. Another reason was that my best friend had also begun skating.
As a family we are used to travelling. My fathers job as an ice hockey coach took us from Tampere first to Turku and from there to Austria for a year. When we moved I was five and Petra seven and during that time we didn’t skate much. For Petra the change was bigger because she had to start her school in a foreign country, I don’t remember much of that time because I was young and spend most of the at home.
When Petra was fifteen the back of her thigh ruptured on ice, and it never healed completely. For eleven years she had given everything for skating, spend numerous hours at the rink and travelled for competitions, sometimes togheter with me. Quitting skating was not an easy decision for her, but not a shock either. She moved to synchronized skating for two years, but left the ice after that only to occasionally coach the young skaters.
There was never any jealousy or envying between us, when Petra quit I was already on the national team and spend most of my time with my coach. Petra concentrated on school, graduated from the highschool and is now studying marketing in business school in Vaasa. It has been nice to follow how normal young womans life she has been able to live. Still I wouldn’t give away the experiences the sporting career has given me for any price.
Nowadays it’s sad that we see each other so seldom, I’m always going somewhere and and Petra has been living in her student appartment in Vaasa for two years now. I haven’t been able to visit her at all yet, but we talk on the phone often. I can speak with her about sports related matters and she always understands me.
Our characters have gotten closer as we have grown up. We even like same kind of men. Athletic and positive people attract us, it doesn’t matter whether he is dark or blond, short or tall. But you have to be able to trust the other, that’s an absolute criteria.
When we were kids I was annoyed by Kiira’s stubborness, sometimes I felt like she wanted to be different from others just for the sake of it. If there were vanilla and strawberry ice cream on table, she wanted chocolate. She always walked her own path. It was a good thing that our parents were strict and even Kiira couldn’t always get her will.
I remember Kiira as a small baby whom I took care of as an proud older sister. Childhood was all playing and fighting, sometimes bags of frozen peas were used to treat the injuries. Our relationship developed in a new way after we moved to Austria, there Kiira was the only other kid with whom I could speak Finnish. My school there was in a monestary where I had to learn to speak Germany.
Sports has had a visible role in our family, although it never was an important thing in everyday life. Already as kids we went to see our father’s hockey games and were thrilled to see the outcome of the game, because it defined the mood father was after the game. I and Kiira have never tried ice hockey, we haven’t even ever put hockey skates on.
We both were excited about figure skating right away, although I was so shy that on the first time at HakametsÃ¤ rink I only dared to peek through the keyhole. As a skater I was naturally ahead of Kiira the first years because I had started earlier. And even if Kiira was a bit of a fumbler, you could sense the willpower and exceptional desire for competition early on.
She was clearly more daring with new jumps, speed and bounce were stronger than mine. As sketers we were very different, I preferrend classical tunes and Kiira wanted to skate on music with faster tempo. I have never been envy because of Kiira’s success or been bitter because my own career ended. At some point I noticed that I wasn’t developing anymore as a skater, and my ambition towards the sport ended. Have been able to follow Kiira’s career so close I have seen how much raw work and sacrifices is required to be a competitive athlete. I admire the determinism and ambition she has to pursue her dreams.
Practices, competitions, sponsor events and interviews fill Kiira’s calendar so full that we have very little time to see each other. Keeping in touch got even more difficult after I moved to Vaasa. We both have our own friends and the little time thats available goes to them. I would like to go to Kiira’s competitions more often, but lack of time and money makes it difficult. Father tried to get me a ticket to the Turin Olympics, but Kiira’s place on the team was confirmed so late that all the tickets were sold out. Luckily last spring I was able to go to the World Champs in Tokyo.
Even if figure skating is dangerous sport, I’m not afraid that Kiira could get injured. I was a bit startled when she fell and hit her head in VierumÃ¤ki. In Switzerland a blade cut her leg, but luckily the cut wasn’t severe. Emotional thrill is more difficult, Me and our father try to stay calm on the couch, but our mother walks around nervously in the livingroom when Kiira is performing.
It has been exciting to follow the media circus around Kiira. I think she has dealt with it admirably and has protected her privacy properly. I wouldn’t tell everything either. Sometimes I am worried about how she can manage all her duties, when just school and training take almost all the available time. I think it’s important for Kiira that at home she can be herself and show also anger when there’s a bad day. I have handled Kiira’s fanmail on the time I have from my studies, and we have even talked about starting a business togheter, but that’s not current until Kiira’s skating career is over and I have graduated. But I know that my sister wont be staying at home.