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Viveca Lindfors (FIN) EFSC 2019©International Skating Union (ISU) 1088558678

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©Interntional Skating Union (ISU)

Finnish skater Viveca Lindfors has been on the rise this season and topped it off by taking the bronze medal at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Minsk (BLR) in January. It was the first ISU Championship medal for a Finnish figure skater since Kiira Korpi had won silver at Europeans in 2012.

Viveca, who celebrated her 20th birthday just a few days after competing in Minsk, feels that this bronze medal is a big step forward for her. “I think that I will have more belief in myself and more drive to go for more success,” she said. People at home in Finland took notice of the young skater, too. Finnish TV broadcasted the Ladies’ Free Skating from Minsk and 300,000 people were watching – which is a lot considering that the country has a population of just 5.5 million. Congratulation messages flooded Viveca’s phone. “Of course I respond to my closest friends and family but it’s too much to try and respond to everyone so I just post on my social media: ‘Thank you to everybody’,” the skater shared.

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) EFSC 2019©International Skating Union (ISU) 1088548830

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©Interntional Skating Union (ISU)

Lindfors comes from a family of skaters: Her younger siblings Monica, Fanny and Matias are all competitive figure skaters, only her older brother Axel played hockey. Their father wanted all children to learn how to skate before they go to school. “I remember when we were little we would go on an outdoor ice with the whole family and I couldn’t skate at all so my father would carry me around and skate [with me],” Viveca said, recalling her first memory of being on the ice when she was about three or four years old.

 
 
 
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As a young skater, Viveca mostly looked up to Susanna Pöykiö, the 2005 European silver and 2009 European bronze medalist, who was the first of a group of strong Finnish Ladies to reach the European podium. Later, Korpi and 2009 European Champion Laura Lepistö followed in her footsteps, but after Korpi retired, there was a gap.

Susanna Poeykioe (FIN) EFSC 2009©Bongarts 84435391

Susanna Pöykiö (FIN) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2009©Bongarts

Figure skating is a tough sport and many drop out before they reach the top. ”I think, in Finland, a lot of emphasis in the kids is put into learning the basic skills rather than learning all the difficult jumps right away,” Viveca observed. “But the problem comes when the kids get older and things get difficult so maybe they quit or they don’t want to or can’t continue further to become big stars so that’s why there are so few.”

Lindfors sees herself as very goal-oriented and ambitious, so she kept going even though it was not always smooth sailing for her either. “I think my personality is that I always want to be good at what I am doing. So I never thought twice about it. It was always clear in my mind that I want to be good at this,” she noted. Her breakthrough she felt came when she took a bronze medal at the ISU Challenger Series event Finlandia Trophy last fall: “Maybe this year at Finlandia Trophy when I did really good [well] and placed third I somehow realized maybe I really can do this.”

While Viveca does not exclude trying to learn the triple Axel or a quadruple jump, right now her focus is on improving the quality of her skating in order to stay on the top. “I think now in figure skating it is important to do as difficult a program as possible but also as good quality as possible. So if you lack in difficulty you must compensate in quality,” she pointed out. “Every day we practice skating skills and my coaches give corrections about how to show more artistry in the program and, of course, I take dance classes. For performance or interpretation, I think it is important to try to really get deep in to your character and try to learn to feel the emotions that the character would be feeling and then just let it show.”

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) GPFS FIN 2018©Interntational Skating Union (ISU) 1056434652

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (FIN) 2018©Interntional Skating Union (ISU)

The Finnish Champion applies this to her programs this season, both set to well-known pieces: “Wishing You Were Here Somehow Again” from “The Phantom of the Opera” in the Short Program and “Les Miserables” in the Free Skating.

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) EFSC 2019©International Skating Union (ISU) 1088548864

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©Interntional Skating Union (ISU)

“Both of these programs my coach [Virpi Horttana] suggested [to] me and I think they were good options because there’s a good storyline and a character. So, I listened to this music and think about these characters – who they are and what is happening to them in these programs; how do they feel about these things that are happening or how do they react. I just imagine myself in their position then just let it show in my movement and in my face,” Viveca explained. She also watched the musicals, but she stressed that she does not want to imitate anything but show her own interpretation.

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) GPFS FIN 2018©International Skating Union (ISU) 1086991332

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (FIN) 2018©Interntional Skating Union (ISU)

The programs this season are more serious, but the European bronze medalist might explore a completely different direction in the future. “At some time I would like to skate to something that is really upbeat and fun, because I haven’t done so much of that and I think it would be a good challenge to do something totally different,” she shared.

Viveca agrees that she appears to be a quiet and calm person, but she also has a different side, she says. “On the outside, yes, I seem more calm, but I have a lot of different emotions and sides of myself but I don’t always show it so much. So, if I had a program that would give me the opportunity to show that side, I think it would be fun,” she noted. “I’m not shy but I’m not so outgoing. I don’t have a problem with going in front of the crowd and performing.”

While Lindfors trains mostly in Espoo and Vierumäki in Finland, she sometimes goes to St. Petersburg in Russia to train with Russian coach Evgeni Rukavitsin and his students. “I really like training there. I like the atmosphere and the training centre,” she said. Viveca, who is in her last year of high school, also has been learning some Russian, first at school and now by herself. Her favorite subjects in school are languages – she studies Swedish and English. She attends a sports oriented school, which makes it easier to combine high-level training and studying. In her spare time, Viveca enjoys reading. “I like fiction in general. All kinds of books. So far in January this year I have read 9 books,” she revealed. “I find it, first of all, relaxing but also helps me to bring depth to my characters when I am performing.”

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) EFSC 2019©International Skating Union (ISU) 1089358246

Viveca Lindfors (FIN) at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships 2019©Interntional Skating Union (ISU)

The Finnish Champion wants to stay involved in figure skating after her competitive career. “I would like to do something around skating still because it’s been my life for so long and I think it’s a wonderful sport so I want to be involved after I am done competing,” she said. The sport attracts her because of the emotions that are involved. “I think the emotions that a performance can bring to the audience [fascinate me the most]. In a short amount of time, you get so many experiences and I think it is wonderful.”