Laura Lepistö's autobiography published April 2024 in Finland


Laura Lepistö's autobiography, Voittava mieli [Winning Mind] was published in Finland on April 11, 2024 - her video+post on publication day:
I believe that the themes of the book can resonate, whether you are a parent of a child who is interested, a former or current athlete at any level, or just a sports enthusiast. I also believe that anyone at any stage of life can benefit from tools and mindsets especialy from psychological coaching.
Winning Mind is a realistic story about a child falling in love witha purposeful hobby, and the path of life that began with a demanding but such a lovely sport and community. Marika [Lehto] and I wanted to tackle a few important themes in sports in the book, and there also are some tough experiences and periods along the way. Still, I hope that the book also conveys joy and love for hobbies and sports, above all else! I personally feel my path is absolutely positive and I wouldn't change it for anything else!
3 Finnish articles published by MTV Uutiset with translated excerpts below:
Laura Lepistö was the first Finnish woman to win the European Figure Skating Championship and the first Finnish woman to win the World Figure Skating medal in solo skating - but these achievements were not what success meant to her.

- For me, success was the fact that I found my self-confidence, enjoyed what I do every day and was passionate about my goals, Lepistö says in the autobiographical book Voittava mieli (WSOY), written by Marika Lehto, to be published today.
For Lepistö, it was important to play sports together with others.
- The best thing about success was that you could share it with others. I found it particularly meaningful that with my own skating I was able to create moments from which people gained inspiration, joy and strength in their own lives, Lepistö emphasized in an interview with STT.

Lepistö started at skating school at the age of 3, following her older sister, and right from the beginning he was coached by Virpi Horttana, who continued with her until the end of her career.
- I loved the excitement of when the next difficult trick would be successful. Nothing could beat the spark and excitement when I knew the success of a new skating trick was close, Lepistö says in the book.
She also describes the joy when, at the age of 10, he succeeded in a double axel jump for the first time after hundreds of failed attempts.
Lepistö joined the national team in 2002 together with her peer and friend Kiira Korpi. Lepistö watched with admiration Korpi's ability to surpass herself in the Games. 2006 Korpi already skated at the Olympics, while Lepistö had to take a break for months due to a hip injury.
In hindsight, Lepistö considers the break caused by the injury a stroke of luck for her career and compares her path to Jenni Vähämaa, four years younger, who rose to the top faster but also got tired and ended her career early.
Lepistö was at the peak of her career in 2009–2010, when she won the European Championship, European Championship silver, World Championship bronze and finished sixth at the Olympics. At the time of her greatest success, she suffered from difficulties that remained out of the public eye at the time.
In the spring of 2009, Lepistö says that her weight dropped so much that after the season her periods disappeared [note: more on this topc in the 3rd article below].
In February 2012, Lepistö tried to get used to skating in front of the public and went to perform in North Korea with the American Champions on Ice organization. It produced the worst publicity storm of Lepistö's career. In the book, she says that he felt shocked and saddened by how Helsingin Sanomat, in particular, reported on the matter.

- The grinding of Hesar[?] continued for many days. I was shocked by how my own judgment and values were so completely violated in one of Finland's biggest and most prestigious media.
The news about the trip to North Korea cut an open wound in me that stung for years. I couldn't talk about the incident without crying. I thought it was unreasonable with what force the national media attacked an individual athlete and what power it had to destroy her career, reputation and livelihood even completely.
In her book, Lepistö says that the editor of Helsingin Sanomat later apologized to her for reporting.
After the trip to North Korea in March 2012, Lepistö decided to stop.

- I loved skating more than anything. Only another skater could know what it feels like to slide weightless across the ice, let the edges of the body be one with the music and feel already in the air that in a hundredths of a second the blade would cut an almost silent, perfectly curved line on the ice, Lepistö sums up.
Lepistö has graduated with a master's degree in economics and works as an entrepreneur.

Her first sponsor was Jorma Ollila, the CEO of Nokia at the time:
Lepistö's father worked as an airplane mechanic and mother as a special education teacher, and they paid for their daughter's hobby.
- It wasn't until I was an adult that I properly understood how much my hobby, which had turned into an elite sport, had demanded from my parents, Lepistö says.
At the beginning of 2008, Erkki Alaja became Lepistö's manager. In the same year, Lepistö won EC bronze, and the financial situation became easier.
- Thanks to the sponsorship agreements signed after the EC bronze medal in Zagreb (2008), money was no longer necessary to think about.
After Lepistö won the European Championship in Helsinki in 2009, she says his annual income rose to more than 100,000 euros.

At the beginning of 2010, after the sixth place in the Olympic Games and the World Championship bronze, Lepistö was also able to earn money by performing in figure skating shows.
- I was paid 15,000 dollars for appearing in three shows in Japan. I would have received five tons more from South Korea, but I couldn't get there because of my summer camp schedule, she says.
- There is a lot of critical discussion about sports. The general narrative is that it's really brutal and mentally draining. I wanted the book to be realistic and unflattering, but if you think about life in general, a good life also includes bad moments. However, they do not take away from the fact that overall my experience of the athlete's path was good. It included light and shadows, Lepistö said in an interview with STT.
Lepistö fought injuries for two years. They were known in public, but the other thing that overshadowed him was not. In the spring of 2009, Lepistö's weight had dropped so much that her periods disappeared.
After a visit to the gynecologist, the menstrual cycle was restored with birth control pills, but later, already in my thirties and long after the end of my sports career, it took a year and a half from stopping the e-pills to start menstruating again.
Lepistö brought the matter to the public for the first time in an interview she gave to Anna magazine because she wanted to increase information on the subject.
- It brought an avalanche of contacts. A few top athletes also contacted me that they have the same things in mind. Today, there is more awareness of this issue, but that does not mean that one or two female athletes do not find themselves in a similar situation as me.

Lepistö is currently a mother of two children. Would she take her own child skating?
- A knife[?], definitely. My soon-to-be 4-year-old goddaughter recently skated in her first spring show, and it was wonderful to see her permanent smile. If I think about my two sons, I don't think about where they could be successful. I just wondered where they would enjoy themselves and find the spark of playing sports or any pursuit.

Laura shared some family and book photos last week:
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Yes and who can forget Poykio, Kettunen, and Saarinen much later … all such great and elegant skaters. Worthy of mention: Drei for her longevity and improved and mature skating towards the end of her career, and Viveca Lindfors for winning a Euros bronze at a time when Russian girls became so dominant …

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