Nona Vihma: "I hope in the future there will be more support towards women's sports"


Nona, in the center, will keep one foot on the ice by starting a coaching activity. (Credits: Sean McKinnon - 2022)

At 24, she has skated for nearly fifteen years and eight years with the Helsinki Rockettes. As the season resumes in one week in Finland, interview with Nona Vihma, former captain of the top team RCKT.

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The 2022-2023 season is about to begin. And we won't be seeing you on the ice with the Helsinki Rockettes! Why did you end your career? 

Nona Vihma: I don't have an apparent reason why I decided to put an end to it. I feel that I have experienced, achieved and learned way more than I could ever think of. And so many times. The sport has nothing new to offer me as an athlete anymore. The effort towards the upcoming season and starting everything all over again didn't sound as exciting as it had before.

The motivation needs to be there. Although I would still like to learn new skills and be better, I feel like I could continue cause it's my passion, and I love the sport so profoundly. 

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Ending such an adventure... was it a difficult decision to make?   

I can't say it was hard, but not easy, at least. I'm the type of person that will evaluate different options forever. I was finding good things in both; ending and continuing.  

It's never easy... 

A few years back, I thought about it for the first time. Then the season had been taking more from me than giving. I was too stressed. But the thought just came by, and quitting didn't feel right after all.  

But this year, the idea of me ending my career didn't feel so scary. I was studying full time, skating in Rockettes, having my own junior team, and I was an assistant coach. I didn't have a life outside of skating. I started to be more open and interested in exploring other things which didn't include ice. I felt that I wanted to get more free time.

Also, I hope in the future there will be more financial support as well as support from society towards women's sports in general.

"Last season was amazing. It was something special"
It was really important to share thoughts with old teammates, family, friends and coaches. And not only about this topic, all the thoughts during my career.
I really want to thank all the people around me who have shared their lives and their time with me, leading me to this point where I'm right now. 

Last season was amazing. It was something special. And I feel like it just gets better as we get older. 

Nona and her team Helsinki Rockettes on the podium last April at the 2022 Worlds in Canada (Credits: Sean McKinnon - 2022) 

What is the most intense memory you keep of your synchro years? 

Hmm. This is so hard. I feel like there can’t be only one answer to this because so many memories come to my mind, from fun moments at competitions to morning practices.

All the emotions when we stepped on the ice in Helsinki Worlds in 2019. It was something out of this world. I felt so sick from the nerves and got chills from the number of people and the noise they made. Then I just started to laugh cause it was so cool.

The decibels on the big screen in 2019 in Helsinki (Credits: Ice Galaxy - 2019)

After all these years, what lessons do you keep?

The more you give, the more you get. And like in real life, you need to keep learning if you want to become great. It's a never-ending process. The most important thing is to enjoy and have fun!

Life skills include teamwork, handling pressure, time management (I'm still bad at it, but at least a bit better than before), and presentation skills. I've learned how to laugh at myself, and I feel like I have learned some English skills, even though answering this interview is still tricky.

Everyone always says that you learn so many things during the skating years or" it will look good on the CV". I never really understood it until now. I have not updated mine yet, but you appreciate and see things differently when you get older.

What are your future projects?   

I'm continuing my studies. Not sure what I will do when I grow up but finding new hobbies, passions, and goals will come among the way. I’m pretty sure I will start dancing again. 

I also want to go with the flow for a moment, not plan too much and feel free in a different way. Spend time with friends and family since I have almost always been the ”I can't, I have practice”. 

Do you plan to stay involved in synchronized skating? 

Yes, I continue as a coach. I feel privileged to be able to work with young skaters, and see them develop and grow to be outstanding athletes and humans. I have been learning a lot about myself while coaching and getting different perspectives on the sport. Learning from coaches in our club and also from other backgrounds and cultures has been the best.

I have learned to be more courageous, which has led me to take on new challenges, such as coaching abroad, this summer.

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The season will start on Saturday, October 8, for the Finnish senior teams, at the traditional Finlandia Trophy in Espoo.

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