Following in Her Mothers’ Footsteps

Articles, Articles by Barry Mittan

Viktoria Helgesson

Sweden’s Viktoria Helgesson followed in her mother’s footsteps when she won the senior ladies championship in 2008. Her mother, then Christina Svensson, was the Swedish ladies gold medalist in 1979. In another coincidence, Helgesson competed at her first European Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, the city where her mother last competed in the event.

Helgesson finished 18th at Europeans, while her mother placed 20th in 1978 and 24th in 1979 in Zagreb. “It was really fun at Europeans,” she said. “I imagined that there would be more people and more press. It was more like Junior Worlds.”

Helgesson also won the Swedish title in 2007, up from second in 2006. She was the junior gold medalist in 2004. Internationally, she placed 24th in her debut at Junior Worlds in 2004 and 28th in 2007. After Europeans, Helgesson competed at the Nordics Championships, which she won, her first international gold medal. She had previously won a bronze at Coupe International Nice in 2006.

“My mother was a skater and a coach, so she wanted my sister and me to skate too,” Helgesson stated. ” I started when I was just three years old. My sister, Joshi, also competes internationally in juniors. She’s five years younger.” Her sister finished seventh at Junior Worlds this spring.

Helgesson completed her first triple jump, a triple salchow, when she was 12, but considers the triple loop to be her best jump. That’s apparent in her programs. Helgesson uses a triple flip-double toe loop combination in the short along with a triple loop and double axel.

In the long, she has triple loop-double toe, triple flip-double toe, and triple salchow-double toe-double loop combinations as well as solo triple loop, triple toe, triple salchow, and double axel. “I’m working on a triple toe-triple toe in practice,” Helgesson said. “I’ve landed the triple lutz in practice and hope to have it in my program soon.”

Regina Jensen and her mother, Christina Helgesson, coach the 19-year-old, who trains in Tibro, Sweden in winter and in Lidkoping, Sweden and Chicago, Illinois in the summer. She usually goes on ice for two hours a day, every day, although sometimes she only skates six days a week. Her off ice time is about four hours a week.

Susanne Seger choreographs Helgesson’s programs but she picks her own music. “I like to search for new music and listen to it on the web,” she said. “Then I give it to my coaches to see if they agree.” Her new short program is “The Rose” from the Bette Midler soundtrack. “I found it by mistake,” she said. “I wasn’t looking for it but I heard it and liked it.”

She used the same long program as last season, “Assassin’s Tango” from “Mr. And Mrs. Smith” soundtrack by John Powell and “Pasha” by Vanessa Mae. “I saw the movie and decided right away that the music was right for me,” she said. “I think I can skate to anything. Depending on the song, any style of music can be good.” Off ice, she listens to anything but heavy metal.

To relax, she likes to out with friends, read and go to movies. “I like to read thrillers and love stories,” she said. “For cinema, it’s the same plus I like comedies.”

“My goal is to go to Worlds and skate clean programs there with all of my triples,” she said. “After that, I’ll do my goals for next year. I always go one year at a time. Eventually, I’d like to be in the top five at Worlds. It always depends on whether I can stay healthy and avoid any injuries. Three years ago, I had a stress fracture in my landing foot and was off the ice for eight months, so you don’t know.”

“There’s always something new to learn,” she continued. “I like challenges and competing with myself to get higher scores. Under the new judging system, everyone has gotten better, especially in steps and spins. I really like doing steps.”

“I was trying to finish high school, so that was hard, but now I’m finished,” she continued. “Now I work, four hours a day, as a salesperson in a company called Momenta. Momenta supplies reflectors, bicycle helmets, and other products that will help children be safe in traffic to different schools in Sweden. The industries and companies in the different cities but the products. It’s difficult to have to study or have a job and still skate, so I think I will go to university later. I’m not sure what I want to do now.”

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