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Thread: If you're a fan of Swedish men's figure skating...

  1. #31
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    Photo, pages 46-47 (http://i51.tinypic.com/15z5un4.jpg):

    TOKYO MEMORIES. "I have sought a challenge and decided to take it as far as possible," Kristoffer says. "You can be happy if you get something that comes easily. But if you accomplish a difficult goal that you set for yourself – it's hard to top that."


    Page 46:

    During the European Championships, Kristoffer crashed twice, and the Swedish Olympic Committee chose to send Adrian Schultheiss to Vancouver. Despite the frustration, Kristoffer understood deep down the SOK's reasoning: he was 27 years old and was believed to have passed his best before date, while Adrian Schultheiss' career path still pointed upwards.

    On the same day that Wayne Gretzky lit the Olympic flame at the Winter Games in Vancouver, Kristoffer Berntsson stopped reading the newspaper. He usually followed the major sporting events, but now he changed the channel on his TV when the sports broadcasting started, and kept silent whenever a friend talked about the Swedish skiers' successes. Every time he was accidentally exposed to the massive Olympic coverage, he could feel a stabbing sensation in his body.

    The morning after the men's figure skating final, he could not hold it in any longer. As soon as he awoke, he opened his laptop in bed and logged on to the International Skating Union website. There was, he persuaded himself, a small chance that Adrian Schultheiss had made a fool of himself and did not make it among the top 25. In that case, Kristoffer may at least be chosen for the World Championships in Turin, one month after the Olympics.

    The page loaded slowly. Kristoffer read: American Lysacek one, Plushenko second, Japanese Takahashi third. He scrolled down until he saw Adrian's name. 15th place. It was over.

    The Swedes who sat in front of their TV sets had seen how Adrian had stepped on to the ice in Vancouver with a tattered straight jacket, his arms crossed over his chest, and performed an almost flawless skate to a potpourri of Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Brain" and Prodigy's "Smack My B**** Up."

    As if that were not enough, the young Olympian had become the first Nordic skater to land a clean quadruple jump in competition.

    When Adrian came in ninth place at the World Championships, after yet another perfect quad, Kristoffer Berntsson was done with figure skating.

  2. #32
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    I've discovered in this section that Koffe cares about the environment and has good taste in music (so he's not just smart, talented and cute ). Oh, be still, my foolish fangirl heart! ♥ ♥ ♥



    Page 46 (continued):

    Six months later, Kristoffer catches the express bus at Kungsportsplatsen in Gothenburg and sits down at his usual spot: the third seat on the right side. He sets aside his down jacket and hat on the adjacent seat, puts the iPhone headphones into his ears, and plays a track from the '90s group A Perfect Circle.

    Since he firmly believes that city dwellers have no excuse to contribute to the greenhouse effect with a car, he spends two hours on public transport every day to travel between home, office and the Landvetter rink. He falls asleep quickly, as he always tries to do, to save energy.

    Fifteen minutes later, just as the bus brakes outside of the rink, Kristoffer awakens and staggers off. He pushes past some snowball throwing school children and walks through the door with the peeling hockey club stickers.

    The ice is full of scratches from the hockey team's practice.

    - Oh, they didn’t rinse the surface? There is certainly no one here who can drive the Zamboni, either.


    Page 47 (http://i51.tinypic.com/15z5un4.jpg):

    After having searched for the janitor, he jogs a few lengths up and down the stands before he goes into the locker room to tape his right ankle, which is broken by too many sprains. Both feet have hard, bulging nodules after a lifetime of being in ice skates.

    When Kristoffer Berntsson had quit figure skating, he initiated his Master's thesis at Chalmers and got a job at a consulting firm in Majorna. A few months later, he lay at home and watched the TV program Mästarnas mästare. On the show, Patrik Sjöberg spoke about the time after he had retired from the high jump, and explained that he had never found anything that gave him the same kick as competing. Kristoffer could already recognize himself in the description, and was afraid that it would worsen. He missed "going out on to the ice and entertaining the crowd," and judged that his body felt good from the rest. After discussing the matter thoroughly with his girlfriend, he decided to commit to the sport for one more season. The objective was obvious: to win the Swedish Nationals and thus secure a berth at the European Championships – which in turn will determine who gets to go to the World Championships in Tokyo one month later*. Sweden has two spots for both competitions. Three skaters, Kristoffer, Adrian and the promising Russian-born junior Alexander Majorov, will battle for them.




    * I know I'm being nitpicky, but the text should have read "två månader" (translation: two months) and not "en månad".

  3. #33
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    It's amazing that you did this

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    It's amazing that you did this
    Thanks, Doris. I know that I move at a snail's pace, but I'm happy that you like the work that I've done so far.

  5. #35
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    Photo, pages 48-49 (http://i52.tinypic.com/jpww8z.jpg):

    ALONE. "Adrian could never replace Filip for me. The nature of our rivalry was different. Filip and I had grown up together."



    Page 48:

    To get revenge on the tormentor Adrian Schultheiss and earn a good result in front of his fans in Tokyo would be the perfect end to a long career.

    How it would be to finish third at the Swedish Nationals and once again sit at home while his rivals represent Sweden at the World Championships – he didn't even want to consider that possibility.

    Kristoffer stuffs small, home-cut foam pieces into his skates to prevent chafing against his ankle, takes the CD with his program music from his bag and walks towards the ice.

    I ask him if one can perform at the top level as a 28-year-old.

    - We'll see. There is almost no one who has tried. It was a process to make the decision to continue, but it's now that I have a chance. I can't do this in three years.

    During the summer, he almost nailed a quad during training, but since then, he has been forced to give priority to the stability of the easier jumps. Because he started late in the season, he didn't have enough time to practice the program so that "it goes on autopilot." But he is confident that it will be ready in the spring – when the European and World Championships take place.

    - The problem is that if I don't get it together now, for the Swedish Nationals, I won't even get the chance to show it in the spring.



    Page 49:

    He takes off his skate guards and heads out on to the ice. After a few warm-ups with the easier spins, steps and jumps, he fetches his burned CD from the boards and places it in the PA system. The loudspeakers soon echo Yann Tiersen's "Comptine d'un autre été" from the film Amélie.





    Well, we know how the story ends for Koffe this season...

    Ugh, I resent the author's use of the word "tormentor" to describe Adrian. :sheesh: How much of it is actually Kris' perception of his rival, and how much of it is Erik Almqvist's imagination?

  6. #36
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    Page 49 (continued):

    In the middle of the program, I hear a female voice from the hockey booth:

    - Fine Kristoffer, your Lutz was great!

    Andrea Dohany has coached Kristoffer since he began skating, but looks as if she would enjoy being at a ski hotel in Aspen more than in an empty, cold and sweat-smelling rink with puck marks on the boards. Her black hair is drawn back into a tight bun, and she wears pearl earrings, moon boots and a thin black jacket from Moncler.

    "Smooth Criminal" thunders from the loudspeakers, and on the ice Kristoffer mixes his spins and jumps with hip movements and kicks from Michael Jackson's repertoire.

    I ask Andrea what she thinks about his final Swedish Championships.

    - Kristoffer can do everything fine. But sometimes, it gets crazy at a competition. If he doesn't get a lot of strange thoughts, it will go well.

    Erik Almqvist: - Have you talked much about it?

    - Yes, but unfortunately, he has made some poor performances in recent years. Earlier, I saw that he had such power, and it's a pity that it hasn't gotten better. But a lot depends on injuries. This is not a healthy sport. The older you become, the more you compensate with wrong movements for fear of getting hurt and injured again. That's why he's so weak with the jumps. A triple Axel cannot be done cautiously. There's a long procedure to get rid of that fear.

    After an hour on the ice, Kristoffer glides around, hunched over with his hands on his knees. He grimaces, breathing heavily, and puts his hand around his right foot.

    - The groin is thoroughly overexerted. I can't jump as much as I want.

    Later, Kristoffer is sitting on the express bus that will take him to the Athletics building. While he tries to eat a plastic-wrapped sandwich without the bus driver seeing him, I ask how he views the rivalry with Adrian Schultheiss.

    - Yes... well, it's more like... he probably still thinks that I receive too many points. But it's always like that when you compete. You want to win as well. Everyone is different. I can express it like this: he is much younger than me. When he arrived, he had a lot of talent. But I've never, how shall you put it... I wouldn't say the kind of things that he has to the media.





    Wow, I actually finished translating the section which focuses on Koffe (which is the largest chapter within the article). This is nothing short of a miracle!!! Of course, I couldn't have gotten this far without the help of two people, so a BIG thank you to both of them for patiently answering my questions about the Swedish language. At my current reading skill level, I just might be able to challenge a 3-year-old Swedish child.
    Last edited by siberia82; 03-16-2011 at 09:55 AM.

  7. #37
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    This is the first half Adrian's second chapter as translated by one of my assistants, with some minor changes done by me.



    Page 49 (continued):

    In his messy Gothenburg apartment, Adrian Schultheiss goes to the refrigerator and grabs a can of Power King – the food chain Willy's low price version of the energy drink Red Bull.

    - I drink so many of these that I'm not sure whether they have an effect anymore. But when I do a really difficult jump, I can still feel a little bit of the slogan, "Red Bull gives you wings".

    After meeting Adrian a couple of times, it is hard not to get the impression that things could have turned out really badly for him if he hadn't found this sport. Adrian says that he would like to develop "his aesthetic side," design clothes or paint.



    Photo, pages 50-51 (http://i51.tinypic.com/33544d2.jpg):

    RESTLESS. In the autumn, Adrian's beloved fish do not behave normally. He is afraid that they've become ill because he bought a used aquarium with a dirty pump.



    Page 53 (http://i51.tinypic.com/2ilhc2e.jpg):

    But a few days ago, when I asked him what he thought he would do if he didn’t have figure skating, he smiled and replied, "I probably would've been an alcoholic or something."

    He then points to a little liqueur cabinet just outside the kitchen.

    - I don't drink anymore. I started at a fairly early age and drank for a few years, like teenagers often do. But then my body began to protest against it. Afterwards, I lost two or three training days, every time.

    When Adrian was 15, his family moved to Tibro. Adrian decided it was time for him to leave the parental home in order to continue his devotion to figure skating. He lived in a "rathole in Linnéplatsen," and then rented a room from "a nice elderly couple" before he found his current apartment three years ago.




    Adrian's comment that he'd likely be an alcoholic without the sport really breaks my heart. :( This article is so sad that it makes me want to disintegrate into a pool of tears... Btw, isn't it highly unusual for someone to move out of the house when s/he's only 15?

  8. #38
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    At 15 you finnish the 9 years compulsurary school, then almost everybody continue three years of shool that can prepare you for university or teach you a profesion some are sportsschool that makes it easier to combine your sport with school, if you want to go a school that's not close to home you might need to move. So I would say it's unusual but not highly unusual.

  9. #39
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    Here is the second half of Adrian's chapter as done by my acquaintance (with a little tweaking by yours truly).



    Page 53 (continued):

    The 22-year-old Adrian now lives on the 6000 SEK* per month that he receives from the Swedish Olympic Committee, which also pays for his coach and ice time. Adrian would like to work to supplement this income, but it's hard for him to find the time because he trains so much and travels to competitions every three weeks on average.

    - I would've wanted something more in life, not just the money. I could do any kind of work, except maybe scrubbing toilets. But who would want to hire me? You see how I live! I have no car and it's a constant struggle. I've tried to get sponsors. You can't go for gold on your own. If I continue skating next year, I'll probably move to the USA. I want to make money on this. The top five at Grand Prix competitions earn prize money. I'm sixth, ninth, eleventh…

    Adrian tosses his empty Power King can in one of the garbage bags and picks up his skating bag from the hall floor. While walking through a rain of wet snow to the bus stop, I ask him if Kristoffer Berntsson's success meant much to him when he was younger. Adrian responds that he has never cared much about other skaters and that he "didn't have an eye on him." However, he still thinks that Kristoffer is favoured by the judges in Sweden.

    - I was robbed at the Swedish Championships last year. I skated well while he made three major mistakes. When I saw his score after the short program, I wanted to leave and withdraw from the competition. I keep fighting, but they never hand me points as they do with him.

    Adrian is aware of that he should stop thinking about the duel that has dominated Swedish figure skating in recent years. Like Kristoffer Berntsson, he is surprised that neither of them has been the best skater in Sweden lately.




    * The translator wanted to mention that 6000 kronor is equivalent to approximately $900 USD, a sum that is almost impossible to subsist on. The lowest paid full-time jobs in Sweden will give you about twice that amount after tax.


    While I do agree that Adrian should've won the SP at the 2009 Swedish Nationals (I remember being flabbergasted that Koffe came out ahead by 0.02 points even though he made two errors while Adrian only had one ), Berntsson deserved to win the free skate IMHO. Each skater had one glitch in this segment, but Kris sold his program better. In fact, I was a bit surprised at how "flat" Schultheiss' LP was in comparison to what we saw at the Olympics and the 2010 Worlds.

    Koffe also achieved higher levels on some elements during the event, so along with the slight PCS advantage that he has (which exists not only in Sweden, but at major ISU competitions as well), I believe he deserved to win the title. Still, the scoring for the SP was fishy, so there was definitely some favouritism going on there. (Btw, I do have the official DVD copy of the Senior Men's event, so the image quality and camera angle are much better than the home videos that are available on YouTube.)

  10. #40
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    Page 53 (continued):

    At a Luleå high school 1370 kilometers* from Gothenburg, Kristoffer's and Adrian's main competitor is leaning over his backpack in a corridor. He is waiting for math class to begin.

    - Heeey Majorov!

    A thin teenage boy with bushy, black hair walks over to Alexander, who introduces me.

    - Oh hell, interview! So do you think we have hot girls here?

    The guy smiles and lets his gaze sweep over the lockers in the empty corridor. He then tells Alexander that he really should be in religious studies class.

    - But I can't keep up, so I said I had to go to the bathroom. Well, Buddhism, I don't get it. They believe in reincarnation. There I'm okay, but their goal is to reach Burma or whatever the hell it's called. You are reborn as something better each time until you get there. Still, one can become animals and stuff... I don't get it.



    Photo, pages 54-55 (http://i52.tinypic.com/16jfp53.jpg):

    ICE FAMILY. In order for cooperation to work, the Majorovs have decided to split their roles. "At home, I'm the mother, but at the rink, I just coach. We can't talk then when he is in pain, we do that once training is over."



    Page 54:

    Alexander looks at him and scratches his cap.

    - Nah, I don't get it, either.

    A few hours later, Alexander puts on a pair of very dirty socks in a locker room at the Coop Arena. He explains that he doesn't wash his skating socks. Clean socks slide downwards and move inside the skating boots, plus it's an old Russian figure skating superstition.

    It is not an exaggeration to say that Alexander Majorov was born to be a figure skater. His father, also named Alexander Majorov, became a successful coach after his own skating career. Alexander's mother Irina is a former ballet dancer who specializes in helping figure skaters with their costumes and choreography.




    * In case there are non-Swedes who have a copy of Filter and are wondering where I got that number, in Sweden, 1 mil = 10 km. The straight line distance between Luleå and Gothenburg is approximately 1024 km, but roads cannot be built through the mountains, so driving along the coast adds another 300 km to the journey.


    My family comes from a Buddhist background, so I very much want to tell the ignorant kid that Sasha talked to that the state of enlightment is called "nirvana" and not Burma. :sheesh:

  11. #41
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    ^ Well, Burma (in its current incarnation as Myanmar) is a pretty enlightened state. I believe that after the state of Burma is attained, the next level of enlightenment is the state of Singapore.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I believe that after the state of Burma is attained, the next level of enlightenment is the state of Singapore.
    That's the funniest thing I've heard all week. Thanks for the belly laugh, Mathman!

  13. #43
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    Page 54 (continued):

    During the collapse of the Soviet Union, Alexander senior had arranged figure skating training camps in Luleå for Russian skaters. He had witnessed the chaos, red tape and queues at home, and thought in the future that there must be better places for people who want to become good figure skaters. When their son was a year old, the Majorov family moved to Sweden and has been running the Luleå figure skating club ever since.

    Alexander's childhood was dominated by the sport. Papa Alexander had shown his son the goodies in his video library of skating competitions that he has recorded throughout the years. He recounted the time when he coached Alexei Yagudin, who later became one of the best skaters in history. He mentioned all the talented skaters that he has coached who, like himself, never quite managed to make it to the elite level. He also talked about those who, after their amateur careers, struggled to make a living by skating for their nouveau riche countrymen in roving ice shows onboard cruise ships with ice rinks. These days, most conversations around the dinner table are about the Luleå pupils' programs, costumes, choreography and development.

    - Dad feels sad when someone doesn't do as he says. He sees the other students as his children, too. Sometimes I get pissed off when he talks too much about them. They have their own parents.

    Alexander Majorov has been travelling to international competitions since he was 14. During the summers, he participated in training camps with the Russian national team in St. Petersburg.* After Kristoffer's and Adrian's strong results in 2008, the then 17-year-old Majorov was given the chance to compete as one of three Swedes at the 2009 European Championships.

    - I had never competed with such a large audience and cameramen from Eurosport before. I was so nervous that I couldn't control my body. I made a fool of myself. After my third fall, I felt awful. After the fourth, I could barely finish my program. I will never forget how I was sitting in the changing room afterwards. I had done my worst performance ever in front of all those people when it really counted. I sat there all alone with my skates and costume for twenty minutes. I actually cried.




    * A Swedish fan on another FS forum informed me that Sasha has not been able to go to Russia for some years now because he might be required to do military service. Apparently, he has applied to give back his Russian passport, but I don't know if he has succeeded yet.

  14. #44
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    Page 54 (continued):

    Alexander has long shown that he possesses enormous potential. In training, he can achieve world-class level, but often fell apart in competitions. After the European Championships, he and his father worked on the mental aspects while Alexander gained more experience from major competitions. This year, he has done considerably better than his Swedish competitors at international events.


    Page 55 (http://i52.tinypic.com/16jfp53.jpg):

    Alexander and his ten-year-old brother Nikolai are gliding to the opera "Prince Igor." They are carving perfect eights while skating backwards on the ice. On each side of the CD player, their parents are leaning over the boards. Standing beside them is the grandmother, who is visiting from St. Petersburg. Although the Majorov family had to adapt to the Luleå hockey club's practice schedule, the training facilities here are unique. Nowhere else in Sweden can you find four indoor rinks with good ice that are adjacent to each other. Moreover, there are two other ice rinks within twenty kilometers.

    The practice session is an exercise in discipline. Alexander Majorov moves easily and with precision in a tight, shiny sweater that highlights his muscular upper body. When he falls on a triple Axel, Alexander senior shakes his head and calls for his son. The father gives him some firm instructions while tapping the floor with his foot so that it echoes in the empty arena.

    Alexander gains some speed again, jumps, does three turns* in the air, and lands softly.

    "Now it was OK! Now it was OK!" his father says with his arms across his chest. "But do it once again with softer knees."




    * I'm a little annoyed that the journalist doesn't seem to know that a triple Axel is actually 3.5 revolutions in the air. Non-figure skating fans who read this article won't realize that it's the most difficult triple jump (and thus the reason why Sasha had struggled with it).

  15. #45
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    Page 56 (http://i51.tinypic.com/1io0v8.jpg):

    Afterwards, his mother carefully goes through the choreography of his free program with him.

    - You must be more relaxed. It's supposed to be theatre, but it needs to look natural. When you do the move where you scratch like a cat, you have to do it properly: "Grrrrrr." It's very important.

    She starts the music over and over again and lets him work through the first part of the program, where he dances and flirts with the judges by stroking his upper body with his hands.

    - That was OK, but don't forget to use your eyes. You must look the judges in the eyes, you shouldn't appear apologetic. You can be shy at school, but the ice has its own rules. Go again!

    When Alexander steps off the ice, I ask him about his relationship with his two main competitors at the Swedish Championships.

    - It's thanks to Kristoffer and Adrian that I have improved so much. I have been training to beat them. It has made me better. But I don't know them. They aren't approachable. Adrian doesn't want to talk to Kristoffer, and Kristoffer doesn't want to talk to me. Before, I used to hang out with Adrian at training camps. We used to tape the others to their beds as they slept, reset their alarm clocks, or spray shaving cream on their hands and tickle their faces. He was like me, a bit mischievous and not like the others, dressed in hip hop style. But when we became competitors, he stopped talking to me. It's a shame.

    Soon the entire family is gathered in the locker room. Grandma is joking with Nikolai and Alexander pulls a heavy fleece sweater over the body-hugging red knitwear.

    - My current world ranking is probably about 25th, but if I earn a really good result, I'd be able to show that I belong higher up. My first goal is to win the Swedish Championships.




    I think it's unfortunate that Adrian cut off contact with Sasha once he realized that the youngster could challenge him. Maybe he wouldn't be as depressed if he had a skating buddy who understood him (sort of like Filip's friendship with Koffe).

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