Helsinki

We’re well into the off season but there is still something lingering from the Wolds, which is how stellar so many performances were.

Helsinki is very quiet in March, winter is ending, there’s some light snow, it’s not particularly cold. Sparrows are still fluffy, but already chatty.

The only major event was the Worlds at the Harwall Arena, a huge ice hockey facility in Pasila, practically carved into the stone of the city, with 13000 seats and an impressive public transport system to bring home all those 13000 starstruck people in comfort and speed.

Public transport is so incredible, that once I happened to ride the 7B tram together with Stephane Lambiel, and Brian Orser was on my flight to Frankfurt. Lambiel was wearing a woolen coat and he looked gorgeous, while Orser looks so much younger in person and he’s got piercing blue eyes.

Anyway, after much considering, I’m starting to think that the terrific level of the competition was of course because it was the qualifying competition for next year’s winter Olympics, so everyone was trying to be in peak form, but it was also because the venue was truly excellent, with the atmosphere building up very nicely.

stilts

Hanyu managed to mess up the short, but when he delivered his magnificent free skating, the arena was filled with the sheer exhilaration. You know journalists always say that it’s important for the athletes to enjoy their skating. It’s a diminutive way to describe the search for the perfect feeling, of ice and body and mind, that each skater is training and searching and longing for. Well, I think Hanyu achieved that in Helsinki, and we got to feel it with him a little bit.

Too bad we were not allowed to skate ourselves.

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