Celebrities on ice – a visit to a Swedish skating club
It’s off season but Absolute Skating is not resting. Skating related events can pop up anywhere and the crew is scattered around the world for a reason: to continually bring you reports, updates and interviews. Sweden may be a small skating nation, but it still hosts its share of excitement as Magdalena and EMJO found out, and it happened right in their own back yard.
At the end of May the ice rink in Malmö only has a few days
of ice left and will soon be put to rest for the summer.
“There won’t be any more ice until August”, Ela Magnusson, head coach of the Malmö Skating Club explains. “It’s hard but we’ve learned to live with it. We find other means of training.”
But for now the rink is buzzing with activity. At least 20 kids
are on the ice, several have come from other clubs. It’s a
big day since Michael Huth is visiting, an event few want to miss.
He is on the ice with the students, showing them some moves and
step combinations. They watch and listen and then try it themselves.
Some of the exercises are hard and the kids struggle, but Ela is
“I’m so glad Michael could come”, she says with a smile. “This is really good for them!”
She refers to the students and watching them it’s not hard to understand what she means.
Even the elite group during the following session
is having a hard time. Kristoffer Berntsson,
who normally skates in the Landvetter Club, appreciates the
You too can get a glimpse of one of Michael’s exercises, the jump-in-the-corners-at-high-speed, by watching >>this video<<!*
is a hard worker and I’m told he expects the people
he works with to be the same way. He’s been on the ice
since early morning and his only break is the short time it
takes the Zamboni to resurface the ice. I get five minutes
with him and with a coffee mug in hand he starts talking about
why he came to Sweden.
And he does that very well. Growing up as a skater in the former
East Germany he’s no stranger to vigorous training routines,
and he had the necessary support from trainers and mentors. He calls
it “filter tutoring”.
“It works like pouring coffee through a filter. The flaws get stuck and only the best and purest comes through.”
And that’s what he wants for the students. He offers them his experience and own years of perfecting skills and they respond. It’s amazing to watch how he’s able to bring out the best in each individual. With pride he also talks about the Ice-Dome, the summer camp in beautiful Oberstdorf (Southern Germany) which has become a real skating attraction.
“This year we’ll have over 100 students from 15 nations. The different coaches will accommodate any style but we all have a common goal: To give each student complete training, on and off the ice. We offer conditioning and ballet as well as step, spin and technique sessions.”
Upon inquiring about his student Carolina Kostner, we find out she will also be at the Ice-Dome. And before Michael takes the last sip of his coffee, he tells us about his other summer plans.
“After Oberstdorf I will be in Leppävirta, Finland
for three more weeks of Ice-Dome and then go to South Africa, all
for training. I have friends there and it’s the third year
I help them out.”
There is no mention of any vacation, but such is life for a coach. It’s class time again and Michael grabs his skates while we take the opportunity to talk more with Kristoffer and Lina as they relax and recharge before their next session, the third for the day.
The first topic of our conversation is new
The teasing smile on his face makes it clear he isn’t ready to go public
with the music yet and Lina starts laughing.
Lina was forced to sit out most of last season due to injuries,
which was a major disappointment.
“I only competed once (at Europeans) and it didn’t go well. So now I want to leave it all behind me, the bad memories and the programs. I just want to be able to train again and not be bothered by injuries. I have to get back to where I was before the injury and I’m close but I need the consistency.”
We spent some time watching her on the ice and can for sure testify that she is a different Lina than last season. She’s slimmer and trimmer, and the fire is back. Things are looking very promising!
“I know I hardly skated my programs last
season, but I’ll still have new ones and new costumes
as well. It’s a shame though because I ordered three
dresses last year, and they will now only serve as practice
Besides skating Lina has another goal. She has a learner’s
permit and has started driving under the supervision of her parents.
”I think I do ok, but all my friends and family hide indoors… No, but I won’t have much time to drive during the summer since I’ll be away so much, but come fall… I’ll turn 18 in September and then I can take the test.”
Good luck to you, girl, with skating and driving!
Kristoffer’s last season wasn’t what he’d hoped
”It was a tough year, I felt like I was never able to catch up. The injury kept me off the ice for six weeks, I couldn’t do a thing, and then I competed in Oberstdorf just two weeks later. Then the competitions kept coming just a few weeks apart and I was never completely prepared. I didn’t ever feel like I was in good enough shape or that I owned the programs.”
But in spite of the disappointments he remains
optimistic about next season.
“Yes, Torino was something special, it was like… big!
I was very happy when I was told I could go. I didn’t do so
great… but those who complained about the men’s event
should try competing themselves, it’s not so easy! But after
the short program I thought I would get more points, there were
many of us within just a few points of each other and among them
I ended up last. I felt that was a bit unfair.”
Lina missed out on the Torino experience but isn’t sorry, with the injury she couldn’t have competed anyway. Instead there’s a sparkle in her eye when she says:
“There’s always Vancouver!”
Along with the new season Kristoffer will face another show down
with Adrian Schultheiss at Nationals over Sweden’s, once again,
only spot at Europeans.
“Yes, it’s really too bad we lost our second spot. And facing Adrian, well, it comes down to coming out on top!”
So it does and may the best man win! But Kristoffer also had to deal with another set back as fellow skater and friend Filip Stiller announced his decision to quit competitive skating.
“That made me very sad. Very sad indeed…”
We know how he feels; we didn’t exactly
jump for joy either when we found out. But we can look forward
to more TV commentating by Filip and possibly to seeing him
as an international judge and caller.
But our adventure doesn’t stop there. Only a few days later the Malmö rink is visited by another skating celebrity: Salomé Brunner. She is on a quick visit with her bundle-of-charm son Leo, to help Lina with her programs. While she is working, Leo is supposed to stay with Ela and her group, but several times he sneaks away to check what mama is doing. During the breaks he becomes the centre of attraction and his energy is endless. He skates, but we find out that his big passion is playing the percussions. He takes lessons and practices diligently and is getting so good that Stéphane Lambiel told him to keep it up so he can skate to his playing like several skaters have performed to Edvin Marton’s violin music. Great idea!
The Norwegian coach Marek Chrolenko is on the ice with his two teenage children, and several other young skaters are training as well. Salomé is assigned one corner and she’s very busy with Lina. They listen to the music, try some moves and then listen some more.
It’s fascinating to watch and see the
program evolve and come to life. (You can watch a bit too,
here!*) The short program is very pretty and Salomé
tells us she had some music in mind for the long, but Lina
already had something picked out, so they might well end up
making two long programs. About Lina’s last season Salomé
We really hope it will and Salomé is optimistic about the
“Now, I like the music, it’s very pretty for Lina. We’ll work on the program; some things came to my mind when I first saw it. We’ll perfect it and give it character. We have two days now and then we’ll have many days in Oberstdorf to work some more together.”
And we have no doubts the results will be fantastic.
By now the rink in Malmö is empty and abandoned, but we
can’t wait to see the finished programs and for the new season
In case you overlooked the linked videos, here are all Absolute Skatings videos. 7 of them belong to this article.
* For watching be sure to select the smaller image for the best quality (this icon in the lower section of the player )