Monday, 18/6/2018 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

Comely Korpi Captivates Crowds

Kiira Korpi

Finland’s Kiira Korpi has captivated skating fans not just with her skating skills, but also with her bubbly personality and classic beauty. The lovely blonde, who reminds many of a young Grace Kelly, is always quick with a smile and greeting for everyone at competitions. In addition, she’s a devoted fan, who usually sits in the stands watching and applauding every performance from the qualifying rounds to the gala, not just for singles but also for pairs and dance, whether Finland has an entry or not.

Korpi was busy during the 2004-05 season. She skated in both junior and senior events, but only changed her program by adding an additional spin in the senior long. Not just another pretty face, the 16-year-old won the Junior Grand Prix in Chemnitz, Germany and the Nordic Championships in Helsingborg in 2004. She finished fourth at the 2004-2005 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final and tenth at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships. In seniors, Korpi finished 13th at her first senior international, the European Championships in Torino, Italy. She finished second in seniors at the Finnish Championships in 2005 after winning the junior title the previous year. Next year, Korpi will probably do the Junior Grand Prix series again, but won’t be sure until later in the summer.

“It wasn’t hard for me to switch between junior and senior competitions,” she said. “Europeans was different because it was such a big event with the big crowd and all the famous people. I was a little surprised that I wasn’t more nervous in the short, but I was nervous in the long.”

She was not intimidated by the new judging system. “I think it’s better than the old one,” she said. “It’s good for skaters to see the points for all the elements. Then you can find what to improve. My coach and I look at the scores after each event to see what to change.”

With figure skating considered a minor sport in Finland, Korpi could have gone into hockey instead. In fact, she hails from Tampere, a hotbed of hockey action. Her father, Rauno, has won the national hockey championship in Finland with the hometown club, Tappara Tampere, and coached Finland’s women’s hockey team to a bronze medal in the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. That would make his daughter a prime candidate for a place in the hockey world, but it wasn’t for Kiira. “I’m glad I didn’t go into hockey,” she said. “My older sister was skating and then some of my friends started so I wanted to skate with them.” She began when she was five.

Soon she was mastering the art of figure skating, landing her first triple jump, a salchow when she was only 11 or 12. “I like jumping and performing in competitions,” she said. By now, she has all the triples up to the lutz, which she considers her favorite. But she hasn’t tried a triple axel or a quad. She has landed triple-triple combinations in practice, including triple toe/triple toe and triple salchow/triple toe, but only uses a triple lutz-double toe, a triple loop-double toe, and a triple flip-double toe in her programs. “Maybe I’ll have a triple-triple in my program next year if training goes well this summer,” she said.

Korpi has trained with Maaret Siromaa and Susanna Haarala for the last six or seven years. She practices for about two to three hours a day, six days a week in Tampere for most of the year. In June and July, the ice rink is closed so she must travel to another town to skate. Last summer, Korpi went to Lake Arrowhead in California to train for a few weeks with Anthony Liu and Igor Pashkevitch. She does about six hours a week of off ice training, including ballet and gym work. In the summer, she also adds running, cycling and rollerblading to her schedule.

Nelli Petanen choreographs all of Korpi’s programs. This year, she is using “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot” performed by Vanessa Mae for her short and a blues medley for her long. That includes “Fever”, “Blues Boys Tune”, and “Shake It Up And Go”. Her exhibition program is to “It’s Oh So Quiet.” “I like to skate to different styles of music,” Korpi stated. “I don’t want to be all the time classical. I always want to try something new.”

Korpi selects her music in consultation with her coach and likes to change only one program each year. This season, she had a new long program. “My Dad found the music for the long program,” she said, “and my coach and I both liked it. I got the idea for the short program from watching Shen and Zhao.”

Korpi is in her first year of high school, where she is a good student. “My favorite subjects are languages and biology,” she said. She speaks English, Swedish and German in addition to Finnish. “I plan to go to the university, but I have no idea of a career yet,” she stated.

When she is not studying or skating, Korpi enjoys going out with friends to the cinema or to cafes and reading all kinds of books. She isn’t involved in any other sports except snowboarding. “I tried gymnastics for a few years,” she said, “but I preferred skating. I like to snowboard but I can’t go as often as I would like.” Since she still lives at home, Korpi can keep all the toys she receives from fans on a shelf in her room. She doesn’t have any other collections. Korpi also likes to travel. “My favorite place was Rome,” she said. “I went there with my family on holiday in the summer. I also enjoyed Iceland when we went for the Nordics. I saw the volcanoes there.”

About Us

Skate Today was created in November 2004 to showcase the people of the skating world, skaters and coaches and others, who make figure skating and ice dancing a pleasure to watch for fans from around the world. The goal was to create a site that would give viewers an insight into the personalities of the people involved in this sport and to give you a more personal connection when watching them live at an event or on the television. Our staff knows how much time and dedication is put into this sport and that's why Skate Today was created.

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