Two Finnish skaters participated in the success of Les Supremes Senior
This year, two Finnish skaters were part of the Canadian team Les Supremes, 2023 World Champions.
Noora Solaranta, 25, and Emmakaisa Tikkinen, 22, were the two Finnish skaters in Les Supremes senior this year. After pandemic struggles and a remote season with the team in 2020-21, they both finally skated onsite and were crowned World Champions in early April.
This interview was conducted prior to the Supreme's victory at the 2023 Worlds in Lake Placid in early April.
Tell us about your journeys to Canada?
Emmakaisa: “I applied [to Les Supremes] in the pandemic year of 2020, when everything shut down and we couldn’t get to hereafter all. So, I did the first one and a half seasons remotely in Finland until last fall, in September, I was finally able to travel. Since then, I’ve been here in Canada, skating with Les Supremes.”
“Technically, this is my third season in Les Supremes.”
Noora: “I applied to Les Supremes already in 2019 but back then, [coach] Marilyn said the quota for international skaters was already full. She encouraged me to try again next year. I did apply again in the same year as Emmakaisa and I was supposed to come [to Canada]. We were even at the airport with our lives packed in suitcases but couldn’t get on board the flight. We then trained in Finland throughout the ‘Zoom year’ and even held our very own training camp!”
Noora: “I stayed in touch with Emmakaisa to occasionally check in with her. In the spring, we were already talking with Marilyn about the chance of me trying out in a year, if the borders opened. In January, I told her I want to apply again.
Then, I booked private ice time. I was also part of a couple of technique groups for training. Additionally, I visited dance classes and did jogging and conditioning by myself.”
Emmakaisa, you arrived in Canada around a year ago and achieved great success with the team last season. Was a World Championship medal always a goal for you or was it a nice plus?
Emmakaisa: “Surely, World Championship gold is always the goal you work towards! But it wasn’t why I decided to come here, the team mattered more – I had heard so many positive things about Les Supremes from others who had been here earlier.”
Noora: “I have always dreamed of skating in Canada, and I liked Les Supremes and their programs. Since I was able to see more content through their social media and YouTube channel, it was like a peek inside how it would be like [to train with them]. It looked like they had a good thing going.”
Emmakaisa: “I have also always liked the skating style of Les Supremes. In 2020, I wasn’t immediately sure where to apply. But when I spoke to my old coaches, one of them encouraged me to apply to Les Supremes and said it would suit me. That was the final push for me. And it was a good decision, I have zero regrets!”
Noora: “It has been even more fun than I could have ever expected! Of course, since I already got to be involved during the ‘Zoom year’, I saw how it would be. But yes, it has been so nice, and the team and the coaches are super lovely. I love how close the relationship between coaches and the skaters is here; communication works, and you can be at ease in practices. I also love how much we focus on individual skills here too, so that’s a nice plus.”
You also have a YouTube channel Spinning around the world. What type of content is there?
Noora: “Well, at least our daily life that infamously includes all kinds of mishaps and survival. We also wanted to share a little bit of how it is to skate abroad and through our vlog encourage others that it is not impossible to move abroad to skate. Additionally, things like what the differences might be and what to consider.”
"The biggest difference has probably been how much we do individual technique"
Emmakaisa: “The biggest difference has probably been how much we do individual technique here. In Finland, of course, we also do that, but there is less ice time available than here. Now, we often do basic training or skating skills at the beginning of almost each practice. Additionally, we have ‘academy training’ where you get to train with a coach.
Any tips for those thinking about moving abroad for skating?
Noora: “Be in contact early, possibly even the season before. Follow the team actively.”
Emmakaisa: “If possible, you can even agree to meet up in international competitions.”
Article by Astrid Söderström