Kiira Korpi Finds Her Rhythm

Susan D. Russell
Kiira Korpi’s Grand Prix assignments are NHK Trophy and Rostelecom Cup.

Kiira Korpi had the distinction of being Finland’s sole female representative on the senior international circuit last season.

After claiming bronze at the European Championships, she placed a disappointing ninth at Worlds. Korpi admitted her showing in Moscow was not at all what she had aimed for.

“I had never been in such good shape as I was before the Worlds,” she said. “Now when I think about it, I might have concentrated too much on skating alone. I forgot my friends, my studies and everything else. Obviously it wasn’t the best way for me.

“This season I don’t want to put all the pressure on just one thing. I will simply try to take it easier.”

Korpi is thinking about taking some university courses and doing things outside of skating. “I also intend to go back to doing Ashtanga Yoga. I used to do it and I would like to have a hobby that isn’t directly related to skating,” she said.

The 23-year-old spent time in Toronto over the summer. She worked on a new free skating routine at the beginning of June and returned for three weeks in July. Korpi said the city feels like another home for her.

Her new long program for the up-coming season is to the jazz classic “I Got Rhythm” by George Gershwin. He composed the song for the musical “Girl Crazy,” which premiered on Broadway in 1930.

Korpi feels the program, choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne, was made for her. “Working with Shae-Lynn was again extremely rewarding. She is just amazing,” Korpi said. “She always puts 200 percent effort into what she’s doing. It’s not enough for her that the movement and the choreography looks natural, it also has to feel natural for the skater. She keeps searching for and trying different alternatives until she finds the best and the most natural movement for every transition and element of the program.”

Like many others, Korpi is impressed with the incredible amount of energy Bourne has. “The other day, Adam Rippon and I were both wondering how Shae-Lynn can be on the ice for 10 hours a day and she never complains or seems to be tired,” Korpi said.

“She does not eat or take breaks, and if you bring her a coffee, she forgets to drink it.”

During her second trip to Toronto, Korpi trained with Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson, and David Wilson crafted a new gala program for her to “Yoü and I” by Lady Gaga.

Korpi received some unusual visitors over the summer. A camera crew from the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) filmed her for a series to be shown in that Asian nation. “I talked about the Moomins (characters from a famous Finnish book series and comic strip by Tove Jansson) and about the summer in Finland. The Japanese see Finland as a beautiful paradise. I didn’t have the desire to correct this image even though it obviously doesn’t correspond with reality,” Korpi said with a wide smile.

A foot injury curtailed Korpi’s plans to get an early start to the season. She bowed out of Finlandia Trophy and the Japan Open in late September. Her first event will be NHK Trophy where figure skating fans will discover if Korpi has indeed found a good rhythm.

Originally published in December 2011