The Helgesson sisters Viktoria and Joshi: Alike but Different┬á
In Sweden we have many sisters skating. There are the Olsons, the Taljegårds, but perhaps most known are the Helgesson sisters Viktoria, 22 years old, and Joshi, 17 years old. Viktoria just made a superb European championship in Bern ending up in 6th place which means best placement for a female Swede in embarrassing many years. Little sister Joshi is not bad either. She finished 4th at Junior Worlds 2009 and is now competing as a senior for the first year and placed 4th place at Skate America. It is the first time Sweden will have two ladies and also two sisters at a World championship.
Starting with Joshi, how has it been so far competing as a senior?
I can feel the difference clearly. The competitions are bigger, there is more audience and of course the opposition is harder. The pressure is harder, more is asked of you, it is a bigger challenge but it is so fun.
So how do you have the time, you are still in school?
Yes, I am in high school but what normally takes 3 years I will do in 4. It is a special arrangement.
Viktoria, how about you?
I study Economy at the university in my own speed.
Joshi, tell me about your programs and why you chose this music?
I like to skate to faster music since I like the energy, but this year the short program (Sarabande) starts out with some softer music. It is Susanne Seger who created it for me, but I chose the music myself. I especially like the step sequence and that is placed where the music is faster. Since I prefer to skate to more powerful music, my long program has that style too. (Palladio by Karl Jenkins, Feeling Good)
And you Viktoria? Joshi prefers powerful music and you often skate to softer music. In that way you differ from each other!
Yes indeed, we are actually very different, even if we look the same sometimes. I changed my short at Skate America. It is the same music as last years (Fuoridal Mondo from "This is England" soundtrack by Ludovico Einaudi) but a new choreography made by Susan Seger. I like my short now. My long was made by Katarina Lindgren. (The Drummer by Trey Lee, Sad Romance by Thao Nguyen Xanh, August Rhapsody from "August Rush" soundtrack)
Your dresses. Viktoria you often have a bikini back. Do you share the same designer?
Viktoria - Yes, we have the same designer but we have different body shapes and I have no waist so that’s why I use a bikini back to try and “make” an illusion of one . It is Lena Didrich who helps us out but we are all involved, me, mom and Joshi. We both really enjoy to take part and we both love dresses!
During summertime you often go to Chicago. Have you been there again this summer and what does that give you?
Viktoria - It is really good for us to be trained by AleaxanderValenin. He is so committed and involved in us. He really cares. We train for him twice a day. In the morning 1 hour with only us and in the afternoon 1,5 hour with 8-15 other skaters.
Do you take ballet lessons?
Viktoria - No we don’t, but it is really good training, we actually would need it but I think it is better if you start when you are young. Instead we do some kind of dance.
So what else do you do?
Viktoria - Lots of strength and flexibility training and then dance too.
How about expressions and to get the feel/mood of the music?
Viktoria - We work with Susanna Seger on that and most of the time it is done on the ice.
Viktoria, you have made great progress this year, you especially are more confident.
Yes, I feel that myself too. The last two years I really had a breakthrough. I feel that I have made progress as a whole. It is all there now in its enterity.
Do you always practice together? How does a day look like for you?
Joshi - Most of the time we practice together and twice a day. In the morning we are often alone so then we skate our programs. In the afternoon, we are together with the other skaters from the club. We can be up to 15 on the ice at the same time so we practice spins, steps, jumps, etc. then.
What do you think of the Swedish cup “Elitserien”?
Viktoria - I really, really like it. It helps the little ones so they can compete against the best of their age. I wish it would have existed when I was a novice. When I was little there was only Swedish Nationals and then the season was over, at Nordics, at that time, there were no Novice competition like there is today. So I really like it. There is competitions all year round now.
Joshi - We have a girl in our club who didn’t make it to Swedish Nationals but now she has two competitions so perhaps she will make it to the Elitserie finale.
Do you help out train the little ones?
We used to every Thursday but now we are too busy most of the time, so it doesn’t happen that often anymore.
How about mental training?
Viktoria - Yes, I have someone who helps me. We started our cooperation in 2008 at Worlds in Gothenburg, Sweden and now Joshi has him too.
How about the triple combination?
Viktoria - I have done it at practice but it's not ready yet for competition. I have as a goal to add it at the Elitserie finale.
Joshi - 2-3 is alright now, I can make my double pretty long but I need to do my triple higher. Then I do have a 3-3 jump sequence.
What skating skill of your sister do you want if you could choose?
Viktoria - I would like to have Joshis energy, her power and her strength. She is so strong and I also want her Lutz.
Joshi - I want Viktorias skating skill with deep edges and soft knees. Viktoria does everything so well!
Are you nervous when the other one skates?
Joshi - I never get nervous.
Viktoria - Well, if any of us skates right after the other then we watch.
But if it is on TV and you are at home watching, do you hide behind a pillow?
Viktoria - The worst is actually when there is no TV broadcast and you have to wait for the update on the internet. It is a horror to stare at the result page. It makes me so nervous that I walk around in my apartment back and forth…
When you compete abroad do you have time to be a tourist?
Viktoria - You have time to go down town and no more.
Joshi - When I was in China we had an extra day to see the Chinese Wall. That was really nice.
Are you alike off ice too?
Viktoria - Well, we often go shopping together or go to the movies. We really like being together, we are very alike.
Joshi - I bought this jacket for Viktoria. (pointing at the jacket Viktoria is wearing)
Well, at Nordics they both competed in the last group. Joshi was first and did not do as well as we are used to and Viktoria didn’t either. I wondered if Joshi's skate affected Viktoria since Nordics officially was the try out for Worlds, but Viktoria said afterwards that the skate from Euros, her free program, was still haunting her. But again this Europeans was the best result for a female for 79 years for Sweden, so high expectations they have set for themselves, those Helgesson sisters.
They both know what to focus on and they will be ready at Worlds in Moscow.!