With Europe literally under the snow, it might be the best time to turn to those wonderful mittens the medalists of Finlandia Trophy in Espoo receive every year – and relive their joy while being a part of this warm, woolly, colorful tradition. Let us bring you this season’s mittens – and their flower motifs – and also share with you a story about the way the custom is put into practice. And yes, this account might very well stand as a preview of the Worlds in Helsinki: the biggest competition of the season will take place in Hartwall Arena from March 29 to April 2. Will you be there? Make sure you bring your mittens.
by Florentina Tone
Every year, the Finnish Figure Skating Association (FFSA) invites people to knit mittens for the upcoming edition of Finlandia Trophy. This season, the theme was flower/flowers – making thus the connection with 2017 Worlds – and the amateur knitters were asked to put their creations into an envelope and send them to FFSA no later than October 1st, 2016. „If you are lucky, you may hand out the mittens personally to the Finlandia Trophy Espoo 2016 winners!”, the add said.
Blue mittens with yellow flowers for Maxim Kovtun
A figure skating fan and a former figure skater herself, Emilia Smolander was among the lucky ones; the Finn recalls her particular experience with the mittens and shares it with the readers of Inside Skating: „I saw the add in June and I thought that it would be an awesome experience to hand out the mittens made by me personally to any one of the Finlandia Trophy Espoo 2016 medalists. I am not good at knitting, so I decided to crochet the mittens. I started working at them in July and they were ready in August”.
As for this season’s theme, “all figure skating fans were challenged to knit mittens themed by Worlds 2017 flower logo. We could use the shape of the flower, colour of the flower or just let our imagination fly. I started crocheting blue mittens. When they were ready, I was thinking about the colour of the flower: I wanted to use some of the colours of the flowers in Worlds 2017 logo – blue, green, red or yellow. At first, I crocheted blue, red and yellow flowers – and then I thought the yellow flowers and blue mittens were the best match. Before the victory ceremony on Sunday [October 9, 2016], I was asked to hand out my flower mittens to bronze medalist Maxim Kovtun. I congratulated him and told him that I made the flower mittens which I gave him – I think he was surprised when he received them. I hope figure skating fans will be challenged to knit mittens for the skaters at Worlds 2017 too”.
„Carolina Kostner is one of my biggest idols in figure skating”
Curious about Emilia? Well, she’s just like every other figure skating fan out there – except that she actually skated herself for a couple of years, 9 to be exact, so she knows very well what the sport is about. And if you’re paying extra attention, you might actually see Emilia somewhere in the Hartwall Arena, a happy, smiling face, during the upcoming Worlds in March. In her own words: “I was into figure skating between the ages of 7 and 16. Now, I am 23 years old and I love watching figure skating competitions on television. I am so excited that I will play music at Worlds 2017. I played music at Finlandia Trophy Espoo 2016 too. It was an unforgettable experience”.
As for skaters she admires, here she is, talking about them: “When I started figure skating I admired Alisa Drei because she represented the same figure skating club as I was. I think there are many other talented figure skaters here in Finland, such as Laura Lepistö, Kiira Korpi and Susanna Pöykiö. When I was a young girl, I was watching their skating actively on television. I hope the skaters representing Finland nowadays, such as Viveca Lindfors, Emmi Peltonen and ice dancers Cecilia Törn and Jussiville Partanen, alias Team CessiVille, will be successful in the future. Carolina Kostner is one of my biggest idols in figure skating. I also admire ice dancers Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte because I marvel at their interpretation of the music every time I am watching their skating. It is also interesting to see how successful Maxim Kovtun will be in figure skating”.
With Emilia’s words in mind, and her blue mittens with yellow flowers, let us turn to this season’s medalists of Finlandia Trophy. Here you have them in Espoo, at the beginning of October, wearing their mittens with pride and smiles. Lots of smiles.