Despite the pandemic, they decided to go skating abroad (2)


Discover six synchro skaters' experience around the world (images' order): Chloe, Mertcan, Isabella, Venla, Linda and Eman Noel. (Credits: Johannes Ollikainen and skaters' photos)

Covid or not, some synchro skaters have listened to their hearts and pursued their dream. In this second part, the skaters tell how the tryouts unfolded and speak about their expectations in their host country.

Part 2: How to convince
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"Independently of the tryouts, I wrote to one of the coaches, introduced myself and came to a training session," explained Isabella Messinger. This Austrian skater has decided to join Team Darlings in the Czech Republic. Luckily, this former Sweet Mozart team athlete chose a team too far from her home (about 2 hours by car).  

"At that time, life in the Czech republic looked to me like without Covid. Skaters could attach, didn't have to wear masks, etc. In Austria, skaters weren't allowed to attach at this time, but they also didn't have to wear masks. Since October, the Covid situation in the Czech Republic is quite bad, that's why I was told not to take the risk to travel, and I should better stay at home. It's hard watching the videos from practices when you cannot skate with the team."

Eman Noel Donaire, 23 years old, on the ice with one of his teammate.

For Eman Noel Donaire, moving from Australia to team Nova Senior in Canada, tryouts were done online as well as sending in videos of himself skating. "Despite a global pandemic, I finally chase my skating dream," said this former skater of Team Unity, Australian multiple national champions.

Going into this team during Covid, he knew that it was important to have no expectations as the year ahead would be a constant rollercoaster. "I was simply excited to learn and develop my skating skills further, living out my skating dream."

Linda Viikki will also be an international skater in team Nova Senior next season. "I have high expectations with the programs. They have had amazing programs in the previous seasons. Of course, I hope that the team works hard towards our goals and we will succeed in competitions, and we will get to represent Canada in the World Championships. 

Linda also expects to have fun, to be able to travel around the world and of course to enjoy skating. "Skating in Nova Senior was my biggest dream and now I'm a part of this team. I dream about representing Canada with my teammates internationally and successfully."

"This is a perfect time for me to move abroad", said Linda Viikki, from Espoo, Finland.

At 19 years old, Venla Asikainen from Finland also had to send video to be selected for the Italian team Hot Shivers. "I contacted the coach and asked if they take international skaters. He asked me to send videos of my skating. He gave me instructions and told me what he wanted to see from me. I sent him my videos and on the same day, he responded and welcomed me to the team for the upcoming season!" 

This young synchro skater has high expectations with her new team. "I look forward to making a lot of new friends on the team and collect wonderful experiences with skating. I also look forward to developing in a whole new way as a skater and challenging myself every day for this sport," continues this Finnish skater who has never been in Italy before.

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Auditioning has been also a big challenge for Mertcan Pak from Turkey, who also did the tryouts online. "I took my chance. I am no expert in video editing; that was perhaps the most difficult part of my auditioning. So, owing to her editing skills, Victoria H. Smith had done the editing for me. The great news was just around the corner; the only result I was hoping that comes positive!" he enthused.

"I have always wanted to challenge myself to be a better skater, and I believe Nexxice is the best place to do that," explained this skater who is still struggling to travel to Canada. His expectations with this team are: "training harder, working harder, and pursuing excellence!"

Chloe Buglar has spent seven seasons skating for Nova in Australia, during which she competed at two World Championships.

Chloe Bulgar from Australia has also joined the Nexxice Senior team despite the pandemic. "I am inspired by the team to push myself as a skater and explore new skills, training and opportunities. I have always admired the Nexxice skaters and that is what I am driven to be. Even though I had a fulfilling career as a skater for Australia, I feel there is still so much more out there for me to learn and do", she said.

She also auditioned via video and arrived in Canada in September. "I’m honoured to be surrounded by so many talented, driven and passionate teammates. I’m excited for the journey ahead and for all the experiences and successes we will work together to achieve."

This article is part of a series on international skaters and their dreams to skate abroad. Discover the first part dedicated to the reasons that push athletes to pursue their dreams.

In the next episode: the difficulties encountered by skaters those last months to travel. The article will be released in a few days on Jura Synchro!