Adrian Schultheiss: "You have to dare to dream..."


January 15, 2011
By Eva Maria Jangbro (EMJO)
Photo © Eva Maria Jangbro(EMJO)

Last season was extra tough, but also extra successful for Swedish top skater Adrian Schultheiss. It started with Europeans (Adrian finished 12th) followed by the Olympic Games where Adrian as the first Swede ever landed a quad. Then finally Worlds, in which he placed 9th, a great result earning Sweden two spots for the men at Worlds this year. But the road from Worlds 2010 until today has been a little rocky. At Skate America his coach of seven years didn't show up for the short program and Adrian later found out he had blacked out in his hotel room. All this caused quite a stir and a lot of rumors. Adrian has new coaches now and is busy preparing for Europeans in Bern. I sat down with him to find out how he's doing.

You recently wrote some on your website about what happened after Skate America. There are no ill feelings between you and Evgueni Loutkov but you chose to part.
I wanted to be more involved in my skating, in the choreography etc. When you're a kid it's ok to be told everything, but as you gain more experience you also want more say. But I'm very happy about the results we have reached and for the most part we have worked well together. I had some down periods a few years ago when I wanted to quit skating and practicing wasn't any fun. I felt like I needed more support when things were bad, but I also knew things could be good again.

Read the whole entry from Adrian here

You are a mentally strong person and you have the ability to turn everything into something good.
I am taking the good things with me, like some technical parts and how to be relaxed. I think we have both learned from this and we've put it behind us. We can meet and say hello, but we've moved on. I have decided to keep going with my training.

So how is your training going?
My trainings are going well. Last week I put the quad-toe triple-toe combination in my short program successfully and might go for it at Europeans as well.

You have two new coaches, or one is not so new...
Your coaches need to be on your home turf, that's a rule so I was considering moving. But then I found two; one is from my club, Johanna Dahlstrand, she has worked alongside my old coach, and Maria Bergqvist, from the Lerum club. It's good to have one from "the outside" who can see things from a different perspective, then you always have two views. You should be with people who can help you, those who lift you up.

How did your summer look like; did you go to any training camp?
I usually go to Finland, but last summer I also went to Switzerland, to Viktor Kudriavtzev. But it wasn't a good summer for me; I had no energy left after Worlds. I did a show in Stockholm because I needed the money. I have my own apartment and I must eat. But my body was worn out and at the camp in Finland my leg started hurting. Just touching it hurt and I only skated 3 out of 12 training sessions. All the camps were like that and everything went downhill; I felt I needed a vacation. My body wasn't strong enough to hold me up and I lost the Axel and the triple-triple. But I'm better now. I have two coaches who listen to me, we have an open communication. But I know I don't eat well or take care of myself like I should.

We are led to believe that top athletes are very health conscious and always eat right. What is the problem for you?
It started around three years ago when I wanted to lose about 3 kilos, to 65. But last summer when I had so little energy it turned out I only weighed 60,5. I told myself to see a doctor if I drop below 60, but all this is because I don't take proper care of myself. I eat, but I don't always have the food I need at home.

Can't your coaches help you out there?
Sure, and they will take me shopping. But it's the preparing and cooking that's the problem.

Hmm, can't somebody help him out here?
Let's talk about your new free program, Romeo and Juliet. Who picked the romantic style?

I did, but Galina Loutkova suggested it. I liked the style of the modern piano version. I checked around and found the classical parts and then I, Tony and Denny Hulthen pieced them together. They worked out well together I think.

You are known for having different programs; experimental, almost eccentric. Your artistic senses are wide open and you're not afraid to try something new.
I'm not a lunatic and I'm not a romantic - I am everything! When I sense a straitjacket in the music, a shaved head fits the image. But a shaved head skating to Romeo and Juliet is a bit off the wall. I want to try to create a complete image, but with two different programs it's difficult.

But you did it!
I don't care about my hair but I rather have it short, its good because it tends to look like I just woke up when it longer.

I thought maybe you were in love since some of your other programs have reflected your feelings.
In love? Ha ha, no it has nothing to do with that, I just liked the music.

What can you tell us about your short program, Scuba?
I have always liked the music but it's been too difficult to build a theme around it. I have rebuilt it a few times since there was neither the time nor the money to get enough choreographing as I wanted. I had to rebuild with what Galina and I could create ourselves, but actually I wanted to work more with Tony and Denny Hulthen who did the program from the start. But when I was in the US I felt that I didn't own the music and after Skate America I started using earphones while skating. It's a different experience than hearing the music through the speakers. I heard things clearer; I heard the calmness in the music. And I have redone some parts together with my new coaches. There was one part between two spins that didn't feel right for my body. But the program is about a sultan in the Middle East who wanders in the desert and finds a magic lamp. The lamp brings him happiness, but he has some problems on the way, like with a snake. I like the choreography, it fits the music. And it has a theme and I like that.

You have been asked to teach mental training. Has that happened before?
Actually yes, the swim coach at my last school asked me. I'd like to, but I'm so busy and I need to put my life in order. And then there's the money bit, should I charge money for it or do it for free? All I'll do is share how I look at things, it's a personal thing. I have found my inspiration and everyone have to find theirs. Having supporting coaches help, and believing in yourself. Tell yourself you can land a triple Lutz and imagine doing it, live it! I know this little girl who didn't dare to do a double Lutz, but when I was coaching her I told her to believe she could do it and powered her up with positivity and some small exercise and then she landed it five times in a row.
When I was a kid a girl who watched me practice told me it wasn't possible to jump as many rotation as she saw me do. She had already set her boundaries.
And when I was 8 we were asked to write what we wanted to do when we grew up. I wrote “I want to win the Olympics.” The funny thing is that a girl told me I had to write something serious, not some silly dream. But everyone has dreams and you have to dare to dream...

And finally, how are your reptiles?
They stayed in Tibro [with his family] because you need a license to keep them in Göteborg. I keep Symphysodon discus fishes in an aquarium instead, nice round ones, like the Rolls Royce of fish. We had an aquarium when I was a kid, but my parents took care of the fish. Now I'm responsible and these guys are kind of difficult, they get sick a lot and I've had a hard time with them. But I got some device to clear the water and now they are doing better.

Well, I hope you will start eating right and taking care of yourself, Adrian. I will for sure cheer for you and Kristoffer at Europeans in Bern. You are one of the super Swedes! I don't know if your fish will do summersault in the aquarium if you do well, but some of your fans in front of the TV might!



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