Home Figure Skating News Finland’s Poykio Makes Skating History

Finland’s Poykio Makes Skating History

by Barry Mittan

Susanna Poykio made history in 2001 when she became the first Finnish woman ever to win a medal at an ISU championship when she finished third at the 2001 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. She also finished sixth at the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final that season after winning Piruetten in Norway and finishing fourth at the Finlandia Trophy. During the 2001-2002 season, the two-time Finnish junior ladies champion made a successful move to seniors, winning the Finnish Nationals and finishing sixth at Europeans and 11th at the World Championships.

But she was disappointed when Elina Kettunen, just a year older, narrowly edged her out for fifth place at Europeans and the one Finnish spot at the Olympic Games. “I was hoping for this year, but I was just below Elina,” she said. “I’ll have to wait until 2006.” “This year was a good start,” she continued, “but the beginning was very hard. I had a stress fracture on the top of my foot and had to keep off the ice for six weeks. The traveling was very hard with so many days being away from home, but it’s very interesting. Also, I just finished school last week so it was a hard spring for me with exams and studying a lot. Now I can just skate.”

Poykio began skating when she was only three. “My big sister skated and I followed her to the rink,” Poykio stated. “I also took gymnastics for a couple of years, but skating is number one with me. Gymnastics was just for fun.” She was 12 when she landed her first triple jump, a triple toe loop. “Jumping’s the most fun for me,” she said. “My favorite is the toe loop and the loop and lutz are the hardest.” Poykio has been practicing a triple toe/triple toe combination this season and has been landing it in practice, but said that it wasn’t quite ready for competitions.

Poykio has trained with Berit Kaijomaa for the last six years. “I may have to change this year,” she lamented, “because my coach is moving 500 kilometers to the south with her husband.” In the summer, Poykio has trained outside Finland, last year in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with Diana Ronanyne and Janet Champion and the previous summer in Richmond, Virginia. Poykio skates for about two hours every day. She does weights, jogging, modern dance, and jumping on the floor for about 5-8 hours a week in off ice training.

For her short program this season, Poykio used “Mondo Exotica” and “Voodoo Dreams” by the Lex Baxter Orchestra. Her long program was to “Violin Concertos: Movements 1 and 2 by E. Meyer. “My friends are always listening for music for me,” she noted. “And people in the club too. They suggest things to me and I take what I like. I plan to change the long program next season, but I may keep the short.” Catarina Lindgren is her primary choreographer. “I don’t have much of a musical background,” Poykio noted. Off ice, she listens to American and Finnish pop music.

“For fun, I like to go to movies with my friends,” she said. “I love all kinds of movies – love stories, action, everything.” Poykio has a home computer but uses it primarily for school and email. She’s allergic to pets and doesn’t collect anything. “I give most of the toys to little children,” she stated. Poykio also likes to go snowboarding and skiing after the season and to the sea for holidays. “I love to go to the beach. For holidays, I like Italy and Spain, but I want to travel to Australia one day.”

The striking 19-year-old plans to attend the university in the future. “I like psychology, but I’m not sure what I want to do right now,” she said. Poykio also just competed at the Finlandia Trophy 2002 where she placed first in the short program and second in the long – finishing first overall. At this time, Poykio is tentatively scheduled to compete in two upcoming Grand Prix events – Skate Canada and Bofrost Cup on Ice.

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