2022-23 was a break-through season for Sweden’s Andreas Nordeback who debuted on the senior international scene. The 19-year-old from Stockholm achieved great results after winning the bronze medal at the Challenger Series Finlandia Trophy as well as the Junior Grand Prix in Ostrava. The three-time national junior champion went on to win the senior title this season, and then placed ninth at the European Championships in Espoo. He then debuted on the World scene in Saitama, Japan, where he drew much attention for his mature artistry.
Nordeback turned a lot of heads with his creative short program, to Johnny Cash’s “Hurt.” While a famous song, it was also quite an unusual, but clever, choice given that he is so young.
“It was a suggestion by my choreographer, Benoit Richaud, and I was a bit skeptical at the beginning. But quite quickly I realized that it was going to be a great program and I am very happy about the way it turned out. Now that I saw that this style works really well for me, I could imagine skating to this kind of style again in the future.”
The athlete hopes that this was “only the start of a long and successful senior career on the highest level!”
“There were ups and downs,” Nordeback summed up. “In general, I would call the season a great success because I made a lot of achievements.”
Worlds, in particular, were special for the skater as he said it was an “incredible experience skating at the Saitama Super Arena in front of 16,000 people.”
“The short was a bit overwhelming for me and I probably wasn’t really ready for it,” said Nordeback, “but I learned from it for the free. I was much more calm, and even though I felt the audience, it didn’t affect me and I could skate the way I can skate at practice. It was a great experience to skate in front of such an audience and I can’t wait to do it again! I was very happy that I could end the season on a good note.”
However, the skater pointed out that the season wasn’t overall that easy.
“I had an injury all throughout the season,” he shared. “It was most apparent at Junior Worlds and I couldn’t skate there as good as I wanted to. That led to an unfortunate result, but that’s part of life. You can’t always skate at the top. My injury is a back problem, scoliosis. It’s a long-time problem, but we are working on it during the off season.”
Scoliosis back pain typically results from pressure on the facet joints and spinal discs, so jumping and other impact activity can certainly exacerbate this. In Nordeback’s case, his spine curves from the left to the right side at the lower part of his back.
“This causes me to have less flexibility when turning my back to the right,” he explained. “The muscles on the left side of the spine get pressured more when doing, for example, jumps on ice or running outside. This has created a quite big unbalance between both sides of the spine where my left side is a lot bigger and stronger than the right.”
Faced with this challenge, Nordeback is focusing on a great deal of off-ice training.
“I think the most important thing is to adapt to how my spine functions,” he said. “Strengthening up everything around such as core, chest and hips in order to lower the pressure on the spine as much as possible.”
Journey into the sport
Nordeback began skating at the age of three.
“My brother, Mikael, started skating,” he recounted. “He wanted to do ice hockey, but my parents told him to first try figure skating, and it actually made him change his mind. He realized figure skating was much more fun. He is four years older than me, so when I was only two or three years old, I saw him skate and I wanted to do it too, and I loved it from the start! I loved gliding, having speed and running on the ice.”
People began to notice Andreas Nordeback’s talent, which kept him going.
“When I got older, I realized more and more that I still have potential left and can achieve bigger things!”
As a child, Nordeback looked up to many skaters from the 2000s, and was particularly drawn to Japan’s Daiskue Takahashi. It was a great moment for the skater to meet his idol in person at the 2023 World Championships, but unfortunately, he didn’t have the chance to approach him.
“I saw him ahead of his competition and of course didn’t want to disturb him,” he recalled.
His older brother also stuck to the sport and is now working as a coach at Nordeback’s home skating club in Sweden.
Defining goals and next steps
“My biggest goal is to inspire people at my highest potential,” said Nordeback. “Winning medals and achieving high results is of course nice, but it’s more about finishing on my highest peak. I want to reach my highest possible potential. It’s my general goal in life regarding every aspect. I want to become the best version of myself!”
Regarding technical elements, the skater wants to focus on improving his quadruple jumps.
“This season I learned the quad toe, but I wasn’t able to stabilize it,” said Nordeback, citing his back as one of the challenges. The goal had been to show it at Junior Worlds, but that didn’t work out. Hopefully, I can stabilize it and maybe add even more quads.”
However, quads have not been the major focus at the moment.
“Since the start of the off-season, I have been focusing more on the off-ice and gym workouts to build up a better foundation, as well as working on my technical side with doubles and triples,” he said. “We are looking to start working on my quads more in depth late July and across August. I’m not worried about landing my quads, but more so to stay healthy and be able to do them without injuring myself.”
Nordeback will be going to Toronto to work with David Wilson next month on both new programs for the upcoming season. In general, the skater wants to show he can skate to a great variety of music styles: “classical, modern, faster-rhythm… I would like to try everything!”
Coming from a small country with a small figure skating federation, he also wants to increase the popularity of the sport.
“It gives me more motivation,” he said. “I want to earn some good results for Sweden to make my country a bigger name in the sport.”
In the future, Nordeback could additionally imagine working as a choreographer and he has already collected a bit of experience.
“I created some programs for young skaters at my club,” he revealed. “I love to be creative and play around with my creativity. It also helps me with my own programs and my expressions!”
Education and hobbies
Nordeback recently graduated from his three-year high school economic studies this year.
“I have plans on maybe studying further at Handelshögskolan (Stockholm School of Economics), which is one of the best universities in economics,” he shared. “But the next coming years will be mostly focused on figure skating leading up to the Olympics.”
“I try to always be positive,” said Nordeback when asked how he would describe himself. “I like to take life in a fun way, not too serious. But I have various sides of me: there is the serious and the playful Andreas.”
In his free time, the 19-year-old enjoys playing golf and trades with stocks.
“Me and my brother deal with finances together, so I check that during the daytime when I don’t train. It’s something I really like to learn even more about and become better.”