The Inside Edge

Where I take you behind-the-scenes of this week’s @SkatingPj Podcast.

Get this: a few years ago, while on a trip to South Africa, I dropped off a pair of skates at a rink located in the middle of a casino. It was surprising to be dropping off skates in South Africa to say the least. I’ve seen competitors from this country at the ISU Four Continents Championships and the occasional synchronized skating team showing up to the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships.

I don’t even remember the first time I got the chance to speak with coach Oula Jaaskalainen. Oula’s is an interesting story with a Canadian connection. A former Finish men’s champion who competed at both Worlds and the Olympic Games, Oula made his way to Cape Town, South Africa to coach. His journey to Cape Town had been circuitous.

As a skater, he took home five national titles in the 10 years between 1984 and 1994. He also competed for Finland at 10 European Championships and 9 world championships. In 1992, Oula was selected to represent Finland at the Olympic Games in Albertville, France. As mentioned, Oula made his way to Canada for coaching with Doug and Michelle Leigh at the Mariposa Skating school.

After retiring in 1994, Oula joined an ice show in England and was even a partner on the TV show ‘Dancing on Ice.” In Cape Town, he pretty much coaches everything and in this podcast, we discover what skating means in South Africa and his strategy for building a solid program for skaters to be competitive.

The Outside Edge

Where I highlight a video related to this episode.

In this case, our Finnish champion Oula skated at the 1993 European Figure Skating Championships in his backyard of Helsinki, Finland. By this time Oula was already training in Canada. Fun to have a look at a terrific short program skate from that event.

Listen to this episode of @SkatingPj and subscribe to the podcast with the player below: