Golden Skate

Sweden’s Persson Prepares for 2003 Europeans in M

Asa Persson hopes for a good showing at the 2003 European Figure Skating Championships.

When the European Figure Skating Championships come to Mälmo, Sweden in 2003, Asa Persson will be waiting to greet the competitors and hopefully make a good showing herself. The pretty 18-year-old with the bubbly personality won the Swedish junior ladies title twice and the novice title in 1997, but was held back by injuries in recent years. A broken foot kept her from competing from October of 2000 through May of 2001, but she has done well since then.

Last fall, she was fourth at the Karl Schafer Memorial, fifth at the Salchow Trophy, seventh at Czech Skate, and ninth at the Golden Spin of Zagreb, qualifying Sweden for an Olympic berth. But the Swedish Federation would not send her to the Olympics because she finished only 26th at Europeans. Later, she was 14th at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships and 23rd at Worlds. “This was a good year for me, a good learning year,” she said. “I had a lot of international competitions and it was the first season in three years that I’ve been healthy. I was so excited to be able to compete again. I’m hoping for better results next season, especially since Europeans are in Mälmo. I want to go to the Olympics and hopefully I’ll be able to skate until 2010. After that I don’t know what I’ll do but I can’t let skating go.”

Persson’s father was a hockey player and both her two older sisters were skaters, so it was natural for her to join them, beginning when she was five. She landed her first triple toe loop when she was 13. The triple loop is her favorite jump, while the triple lutz is the hardest. She used a triple lutz-double toe and a triple flip-double toe combination this year, but is working on the triple salchow-triple loop for next season. She also hopes to have more triple jumps in her program in 2002-2003.

Persson has begun training in Edmonton with Jan Ullmark this summer. Her previous coach was Sofhia Gustavsson, while her choreographers were Nina Petrenko and Catarina Lindgren. She used “Cinderella Prepares for the Ball” for her short program, which Petrenko choreographed for last season after Gustavsson found the music. For her long program she used a mambo medley, which included “Temptation”, “Besame Mucho”, “Mambo en Sax”, and “Mambo Caliente”. “Catarina likes mambo music and she found this for me when I went to Colorado Springs last year,” Persson stated. Lindgren has choreographed both of Persson’s new programs this summer.

Before this year, Persson had trained in Simsbury, Connecticut, for the last three summers. “I wanted to go somewhere I could be inspired by the other skaters,” she said,” and I have relatives in Connecticut where I could stay. The first year I was injured after three days, but the last two years I’ve been there at least three weeks. We only have ice from September to March at my club in Sweden, so I have to go somewhere else to train.” Persson trains about 15 hours per week in the winter, while in the summer she usually has three 45-minute sessions a day. Off ice training includes a ballet class once a week offered through her club in Sweden for the last three years. She also takes a conditioning class once a week and likes to run when she can. “It depends on the weather, because I like to run outside,” she said.

Her favorite competition was her first international, the 1997 Triglav Trophy, where Sweden sent a large team. There are usually just one or two Swedish skaters at an event. Her favorite holiday journey was to Egypt where she saw the Pyramids and went swimming and sunbathing. “I like to snow ski, but I really like lying in the sun,” she said. “I’d like to go on a cruise somewhere it’s really hot.”

The petite blonde is in her last year of high school and plans to go to the university “not directly, but some years in the future.” History is her best subject, but she is good at languages, speaking fluent English and Swedish, as well as some German. She uses her computer primarily for schoolwork and emailing friends.

For fun, she likes to go snow skiing and visit friends. “School takes up a lot of my time, so I like to just rent movies,” she stated. “I like girl movies with a lucky ending, not violent movies.” She also likes to read and just finished “Bridget Jones Diary”. She added that she listens to “whatever comes on the radio, but I’m not into techno music. I like a lot of different styles of music.” She collects plush rabbits.