Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by siberia82, Feb 15, 2011.
Thank you so much much for translating these. This is extremely interesting and a bit sad.
Page 43 (continued):
The following year, Kristoffer set a new personal record at the Swedish Nationals and qualified for the 2007 World Championships in Tokyo. There he was followed throughout the week by a camera crew from the PR agency Göteborg & Co. The next Worlds would be held in Gothenburg, and the city wanted to promote the event by highlighting the country's greatest figure skaters.
While Kristoffer took off his skate guards and walked out on the ice in a shiny silk shirt and imitation leather black pants, he had a stomach ache due to nervousness. But as soon as he began the Travolta-dance to the first notes of "Stayin' Alive", he heard cheering from the stands. When he nailed a perfect triple toe loop, he felt that he had something big going on. Television commentators Katarina Hultling and Lotta Falkenbäck reported home to the Swedish people, "What a skate!" "Fun and groovy!" "Oh so lovely!"
After he had completed his final spin, Kristoffer Berntsson stood with his left hand on his hip and the other stretched towards the ceiling. The audience in the packed arena gave him a standing ovation; flowers and teddy bears flew through the air and landed on to the ice. Kristoffer could not help but smile and applauded himself. He had never skated this well before. He smashed his personal record by 20 points and finished in ninth place the best result for a Swedish man since Gillis Grafströms gold in 1929.
The 24-year-old Kristoffer Berntsson came home to Gothenburg as a star. People stopped him on the street to offer their congratulations. Moreover, his achievement meant that Sweden had two spots for the home World Championships.
Kristoffer then followed up this result with a seventh place finish at the European Championships in Zagreb his best placement ever at an international competition. Naturally, everything should have felt fantastic if it were not for the 18-year-old Adrian Schultheiss who finished sixth.
For figure skating fans all over the world, it seemed as if Sweden had something big happening. The country had no major presence on the international scene for nearly a century, and now it had two skaters among the top seven in Europe.
I have read the whole article a few times and I don't really know what to say about it.
It is very well written in trems of making an interesting story,get peoples attention to read,that's for sure and also it puts the spotlight on Swedish skating that hardly ever happens in the press (writing).It feels more like a drama story, making Kristoffer the good guy who does everything right ,Adrian the bad guy who sits in a dark room with pierced lip and then finally Alexander who pops up from nowhere, but this according to the reporter who knows absolutely nothing about Swe skating...well before he wrote this.It is a hard sport and they do need sponsors but I don't like the way he describes the skaters.It could have been done in a more positive creative way and still put forward the problems Swedish skating face concerning sponsors .TV could help here.
On TV we get to see who won Swedish nationals but this is not chosen by us the Swedes.We want according to Tv statistical see way more figure skating. The show in Stockholm last year was almost sold out so it is not the viewers point if you get what I say to show so little FS.We want to see more that Europeans and Worlds even though I do realize not all countries are so lucky.
The part that says they don't talk to each other, eat breakfast together or practice together is a simple fact such as not the same practice time and also on focusing on the goal.
It is nice that there is a focus on skating in Sweden but please don't make it look like they are enemies drama cause they are not.It is simple competition and a wish do be the best .
Lis, thanks for your insight into the journalist's sensationalist writing style. While I still have many pages to translate, I have already noticed that Erik Almqvist likes to describe Adrian as being "pierced"; it's as if he couldn't be bothered to inform us of Schultheiss' other traits. Adrian is obviously a lot more than just an "angry punk", but it looks like the author wanted to emphasize the antagonistic side of this skater's personality.
siberia82, thank you so much for your efforts in translating this. I love both Adrian and Kristoffer as skaters and it is very interesting to get more insight into their personalities and experiences. Although it does look like the author is going for a sensationalist angle on the whole thing which might be detrimental to getting sponsors for Swedish figure skating
Adrian's behavior sounds really worrisome I hope that he can regroup and find a renewed love for skating. He is too talented to quit.
I was really surprised to find out that some of you guys find the journalsit´s writing style sensational.
Filter is by far the best magazine in Sweden, known for its deep research and proffesional approach. Filter was chosen for Magazine of the Year, 2009 and Erik Almqvist was rewarded Journalist of The Year.
Now, don´t forget that this is an article written in a lifestyle magazine where the main target group are the people in general, and not the skating fans. And every reporter needs a story with a beginning and an end. That being said I think he did a great job portraying the skaters and I find the article very well written and objective. If you´ve been following Swedish skating you know that Kriss and Adrian were never friends. That´s a fact. They are both very talanted and voidy in their own ways but they were never friends. And if you read the article carefully you´ll notice it by the way they´re talking about each other. I think it´s really sad but that´s how it is. And this is something that´s been going on for ages. I actually thought that Adrian showed his vulnarable side in the article which is hard to notice sometimes.
Anyway, I hope that Adrian finds the inspiration and the strenght to continue skating. And let´s hope for the best for Majorov. Because something is telling me that the Euros was the last time we saw Kriss competing ((( (And yes, I hope I´m wrong!!!)
shoegirl, it's very good of you to inform us that Filter is a highly regarded magazine within Sweden, and that Erik Almqvist has won a major award for his journalism. (He's not immune to mistakes, though, and I've pointed out earlier in this thread that he forgot two of Filip Stiller's national titles.) For outsiders like me, it helps to know what kind of publication this is. Despite my earlier criticism, I'm utterly grateful that he wanted to showcase Sweden's top male skaters, and I've certainly learned a lot about their mindset in the few pages that I've translated.
While I agree (in my limited, English-speaking way) that Mr. Almqvist has an informative and engaging writing style, I nevertheless feel that Adrian is portrayed in a more negative light than Koffe is (e.g. the constant reference to his piercing, which the general public would normally associate with rebellious behaviour). Granted, Adrian does possess a more "edgy" temperament than Kris, but I don't think it's necessary to frequently paint him as somewhat "threatening" (or at least that's the impression that I get). For instance, in the last section I had worked on, I sensed that the author was trying to imply that Schultheiss "got in the way" of Berntsson's success by placing ahead of him at the 2008 Euros. Why didn't he write something less confrontational, like "Kristoffer was disappointed because he wasn't the top Swede at that event"?
Of course, my perception is no doubt influenced by my minimal ability to "read" Swedish, so I'll admit that some details from the text are lost to me because I cannot grasp the subtleties of the language.
Page 43 (continued):
For the first time, Kristoffer and Adrian experienced the true scent of the fine figure skating world, where the best athletes sign fat endorsement contracts and draw in millions of kronor in prize money. The most successful Russians were offered roles in television series, pen best-selling autobiographies, and have both groupies and stalkers.
Photo, page 44 (http://i52.tinypic.com/20koef4.jpg):
PREVENTION. After ice practice, Kristoffer rides the bus to the Athletics building for fitness training. "My body is not built for skating. I have almost no curvature in my lower back, so there is too much strain on the vertebra."
Page 45 (http://i52.tinypic.com/20koef4.jpg):
Kristoffer Berntsson: - It was hysteria in Tokyo. Ten thousand Japanese stood up and applauded me for my free skate. It was... a special feeling. There was a mass of fans outside the stadium, and they would take pictures, give me presents and ask for autographs. When I came back to the hotel, people were waiting for me there, too. I still receive stuffed animals and letters from Japan.
What the foreign fans didn’t know was that Kristoffer Berntsson and Adrian Schultheiss were as different as night and day. They lived and trained in the same city, but never socialized and did not talk to each other more than necessary. When Kristoffer wasn’t training, he spent time with his girlfriend and was studying for a Master of Engineering degree at the Chalmers University of Technology. The pierced Adrian led a less orderly life. In an interview, he summarized his hobbies: "Reptiles, death metal and hip hop."
Days before the World Championships in Gothenburg, the newspapers’ sports pages were filled with interviews of the hometown hopefuls. Aftonbladet visited their practices and described how they both trained to learn the quadruple jump – and thus break into the international elite. In an interview with Svenska Dagbladet, Adrian Schultheiss criticized the marketing of the World Championships, where posters of Kristoffer Berntsson were displayed on bus shelters and trams around Gothenburg. "As for the marketing department, they didn’t use their whole heads," he opined. "Kristoffer has received a lot of undeserved attention. I still have beaten him several times." Shortly thereafter, he made an unsuccessful attempt to play down the rivalry with the comment: "We don’t burn down each other's hotel rooms, of course."
Adrian's last statement is just ! I love his sense of humour!
By coincidence I was rewatching my videos of the 2008 Worlds Men's competition this weekend. I came across a fluff piece where Berntsson walks around introducing Goteborg and you see that there were posters of him everywhere in his Saturday Night Live costume. Must have rankled Adrian - although he was a relative newcomer at the time, would have been great for the organizers to use both Kristoffer AND Adrian as the faces of those world championships. The fluff piece definitely didn't show any posters of Adrian or even mention him in any way.
Nonetheless, Adrian's performances at those Worlds were great! It must have been a wonderful experience for him to perform well in front of his home crowd
I have that fluff piece, too. I believe this is the only footage produced by a major network where he speaks English (or if he has done other video interviews in English, I've certainly never seen them).
Yeah, I can understand why Adrian would feel resentful about being "neglected" by the promoters. However, a few factors were working against him:
1. Kristoffer was already a minor celebrity, so it was easier for the organizers to focus on him since many Gothenburgians (is that a word?) would recognize his face.
2. Although Schultheiss did beat Berntsson at Euros, it was probably too late at that point for the marketing department to change their plans.
3. Adrian doesn't project a "family-friendly" image, so the city and the companies that sponsored the event may have felt uncomfortable showcasing an athlete who has a punk-like aura about him.
Page 45 (continued):
It was high time to wipe out Kristoffer's and the audience's expectations. While Adrian Schultheiss breezed through his long program, fans in the Scandinavium did the wave and chanted: "Adrian! Adrian! Adrian!" He closed the best skate of his life by moving down into a limbo position with his hands shaped like guns and fired at the judges. The gesture was not appreciated by all; Adrian finished at number 13 in the world, but he showed the audience that he had the potential to go further. Afterwards, he declared that he "will someday stand on the podium."
As for Kristoffer Berntsson, he could see that the future wasn’t nearly as bright. His coach summed up his World Championships effort with the sentence: "It's about doing the best you can, and he didn't do that." The rest of the season was destroyed by a hip injury, and he was finally obligated to undergo surgery. When Kristoffer returned, he developed back problems. If he stood up for five minutes, he was forced to spend the rest of the day on the couch. He started to question whether figure skating was worth all the hard work and all the pain. It was the same steps, the same jumps, the same spins... 20 hours a week. He knew he had reached the age when a skater’s body began to deteriorate. Backs worn down due to the extreme torsion caused by the rotations, battered groins, deformed ankles. Many suffer from asthma due to the cold, dry air at the ice rink, while others feel so horrible from the loneliness and the psychological stress that they develop alcohol problems.
After one and a half years of rehabilitation training, Kristoffer successfully came back to the 2009 Swedish Nationals. Since he had been away for so long, he knew that he not only had to win the event, but he also needed an impressive performance at the subsequent European Championships to convince the Swedish Olympic Committee to select him for the Olympics instead of Adrian.
The result was that Kristoffer decided to jump a little higher and go a bit faster instead of focusing on security in skating. At the Swedish Championships, it went well, and he was awarded victory over Adrian. In a Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå interview, Adrian argued that Kristoffer did not deserve the title: "I don't give a crap that he won Nationals. The judges in Sweden are biased, and it has been really corny lately. They give him high marks just for being him. When we have competed internationally, I have beaten him three times out of four."
I was aware of Koffe's hip surgery after the 2008 Worlds (and I even remember seeing a photo of him using crutches ), but I didn't know that he also suffered from a painful back injury. That explains why he struggled so much with his "Dancing Robot" routine. I find it odd that the journalist seemed to suggest that Kris didn't compete during the 2008/2009 season and the fall of 2009. I suppose that his way of skipping over 1.5 years, but it's still misleading.
Again thank you a lot for translating and posting this, Siberia82!
But the tone of the article just goes more and more weird. Yes, people seem to love rivalries,but this just strengthesn the sterotype that all the figure skaters are b####y b####s.
Still, in a perverse way, very interesting to read.
Well the journalist got what he wanted...
I have never read Filter before nor did I know about it, but since I have talked to all 3 guys several times I feel the description of them is kind of odd and does not describe their true personality.
Well the journalist got what he wanted...
I have never read Filter before nor did I know about it, but since I have talked to all 3 guys several times I feel the description of them is kind of odd and does not describe their true personality.But yes of course the are competing against each other not drinking coffee.
Oh have to add that Adrian is not the only one who thinks Kriss has been favored at Nationals.There has been a talk for some time now about that...
I like all three of them since they are so different in style.
Thank you for your insight!
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," says Kristoffer. "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."
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 Bitch 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.
Ajax, since we were discussing the heavy emphasis on Berntsson during the 2008 Worlds promotional campaign, you might be interested in a couple of commercials where he appeared briefly. Kris and Team Surprise (well, it's either that or a throng of Koffeholic fangirls ) shout out something in Swedish near the end of this 3-minute "Welcome to Gothenburg" ad (I could only make out the word "Göteborg"):
http://www.nicozon.net/watch/sm10402449 (Scroll down the page to watch the video.)
Kristoffer was also featured in this (somewhat corny) 2008 Worlds commercial: http://www.nicozon.net/watch/sm2728130
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".
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."
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.
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. How much of it is actually Kris' perception of his rival, and how much of it is Erik Almqvist's imagination?
No matter, Adrian still holds most special place in my heart. I first saw him last season and I immediately liked him. And I like him even more after reading and learning more about him.
Thank you very much for all your hard work in translating this article. I'm impressed!
The article sounds more and more moronic as it goes on. Sorry, but...
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 stuff 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 whiteskates' and shoegirl's help, 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.
whiteskates has already submitted to me her translation of Adrian's part, but I still have to look it over before I can post it.
Jättefint arbete, Siberia82! Jag tackar so mycket!
Thank you, Siberia82!
This is the first half Adrian's second chapter as translated by whiteskates, 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 Willys low price version of the energy drink Red Bull.
- I drink so many of these that Im 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 hadnt 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 didnt have figure skating, he smiled and replied, I probably wouldve been an alcoholic or something.
He then points to a little liqueur cabinet just outside the kitchen.
- I dont 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? I can only guess that things may have been at rough for him at home, but that's just speculation on my part.
Thanks for saying so. Translating a fairly large body of text that's written in a language you can't really read is not for the faint-hearted!
Yes, there are aspects of the Mr. Almqvist's writing which are indeed moronic , but I've nevertheless gained some valuable insight into these skaters' lives and their personalities. I just wished that he had framed everything better and offered a more balanced viewpoint instead of the Beloved Altmeister vs. Pierced Punk story we got earlier.
Var så god! (That's how you say, "You're welcome" in Swedish, right?) I actually understood what you wrote without having to check my books! (I'm sure you meant to type "så" and not "so".) Wheeeeeee, I'm actually learning a little bit of Swedish!!! How cool is that???
It is very cool that you learn Swedish! If you come to my part of Finland and to my village, you can use it here, because 65% of people are Swedish-speaking.
Yes, så! Mixing Swedish and English always gets my head spin.
Here is the second half of Adrian's chapter as done by whiteskates (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 the Swedish figure skating in recent years. Like Kristoffer Berntsson, he is surprised that neither of them has been the best skater in Sweden lately.
* whiteskates 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.)
900 USD is realllly low.. you'd have enough to rent a room in a house and food and that's about it..
While I've made some progress, I don't think I'll last 5 minutes in your village. In terms of my reading skills, I can recognize some common words now, plus sentences which are short and simple. I haven't practiced writing in Swedish all that much, and I certainly don't understand the spoken language.
My first "Swenglish" or "svengelska" incident involved trying to write "You're welcome", and I came up with "Du är välkommen".
And don't forget that taxes in Sweden are even higher than in Canada.
It's around the time you finish mandatory school in Sweden and go into our version of high school. It's not common to move out at the age of 15/16, but it does happen, especially with sports kids, because they tend to enroll into specialty sports programs and those are few and far between and often involve moving.
There is no way he could subsist on 6k/month if that pre tax. If he had to pay income tax on that he'd be left with less than 4k per month and that wouldn't cover rent + food, let alone any skating related expenses. Covering that on 6k/month would be very, very hard. It's less than what students live on.
Oh my gosh, I missed the part where it says his living expense money ALSO PAYS FOR HIS COACH AND ICE TIME.. wow.. that's even worse than I thought. No wonder he's suffering from clinical depression. He's probably slightly malnourished..
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."
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.
* The journalist claims that Luleå is situated "137 mil" (in Sweden, 1 mil = 10 km) from Gothenburg, but I think he may have meant to say that the high school was located 1037 km or 1073 km away. From what I can gather on the Internet, Luleå is just over 1000 km from Gothenburg, so 1370 km seems excessive.
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.
I just had a thought related to Adrian's finanical situation: don't the top skaters receive funding from the Swedish Figure Skating Association (which is a separate organization from the SOK)? I'm sure it isn't much, but I hope that he does get something in addition to the monthly 6000 kronor.
I know that Koffe's funding from the SOK was cut after the 2006 Olympics where he finished a disappointing 23rd, yet he seems to be doing okay money-wise compared to his rival despite having to juggle university studies. I don't know if he had to work to supplement the missing income (I was only aware of the consulting firm job, and that happened after the 2009/2010 season) or if he got help from his parents. While I certainly haven't "read" every Swedish article or interview about Kristoffer that has existed since he began skating, I don't recall him ever mentioning that he was in dire straits financially.
On another note, did anyone else pick up these skaters' opposite attitudes towards cars? I'm almost certain the author added this small detail on purpose to emphasize just how different Berntsson and Schultheiss are.
Thanks for the explanation. Having to move and live on your own at the age of 15 to pursue an athletic career is tough.
Adrian did mention in an AbsoluteSkating.com article that he hasn't been taking care of his health (like not being to be able to find the time cook properly). Considering that he's living beneath the poverty line, I'm surprised that he wanted to invest in an aquarium and pet fish. No doubt he regards it as a necessary expense for his psychological well-being, but if I were that poor, I'd be pinching pennies. (I was tempted to use "öre" in that sentence, but it's no longer legal tender in Sweden from what I understand. )
The driving distance between Luleå and Gothenburg is 1307 km. Sweden's a very elongated country. (Luleå is about 1000 km north of Stockholm).
I think Berntsson probably had a study loan and study grant on top of whatever he got from SOK/sponsors. It still wouldn't be big money, but it'd be doable.
I'm sure neither Schultheiss nor Berntsson pays as much for ice time/coaching as the US skaters do, but I couldn't really give even a ballpark estimate.
Is there a significant difference between the "straight line" distance and the driving distance? I did check several sites (they all listed Gothenburg and Luleå as being approximately 1024 km apart), but it's possible that none of them were reliable.
I hadn't considered that Koffe may have sponsors. It's odd that he'd have some while Adrian has none even though the latter is the more successful skater. Your suggestion is probably the most likely scenario since Kris has managed to survive without the SOK's support for 5 years after being kicked out of their talent program.
Yes. There is nothing in the middle of the country (well, mostly nothing ), except mountains, so you wouldn't build dead straight roads, and the road up north follows the coast line for obvious reasons, so that's where you get the 300 km difference.
I don't know if he's ever had any major sponsors (I highly doubt it). IIRC he was sponsored by his hairdresser at some point. Skating is not a big sport in Sweden, and the name recognition is very low, but Berntsson's been around forever, so that helps a little.
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.
Misstake her about Alexander!
He has not been able to go to Russia for some years now since he could risk that they would make him do military service.He has applied "to give" his Russian passport back some years ago and I hope it is now.
Ah okay, now I have a slightly better understanding of Sweden's topography. I'm also relieved that I didn't accidentally share "false" information and embarrass myself in front of FSUers.
I think you may be referring to this old fluff piece : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCNmAGMwT5M
Thanks for pointing that out. I've heard about this on AbsoluteSkating.com a while ago, but it totally slipped my mind. Mr. Almqvist did write in the past tense, though, so I guess it's not an error per se, but he should've clarified the Russian citizenship issue. Of course, he might be trying to make Sasha appear more Russian than he really is, and decided to omit that detail. The journalist refers to him on the title page as a "Russian prodigy" (and not Russian-born).
Separate names with a comma.