Everybody talks about them… River Bulls are back on Jura Synchro. In this second part, this male synchro team takes you behind the scenes.
What are your theme and music this season? What is your target of this season?
Matti Heinonen: Our theme is ”Hasta la vista” and our music is a combination of the Terminator movie music and AC/DC´s Black in Black. We train twice a week: one skating rehearsal on ice and the other one off ice conditioning. We finished at the 10th place in our first competition last December when there were 11 teams competing. We earned 40.8 total points (not ISU scores). Now our target is to improve this “national male team record” and to achieve “the world record” in Oberstdorf.
We hope we can gather enough money for that trip and have more use to our ”team shout” for this season which is: “Guards off!” During our short history, most of us have quite often jumped straight to the ice… and you all know what that means.
What do you think about your team and how the public has reacted to you?
Matti Heinonen: With our age, this needs a lot of humor but on the other hand we have a great will to develop as a team. The more we learn the more the motivation to learn new skills and difficult tricks groves. At first people were a little bit suspicious, but finally, the attention has been very positive, almost embarrassing. The greatest moment was our performance in the opening of Finlandia Trophy 2015 where we got positive publicity and the most impressing spurring from the child skaters.
What is the most difficult, and the most interesting thing in synchro?
Matti Heinonen: The most difficult thing is the unison and we have had some difficulties with the mobility of our limbs. Unison in gestures and expression is also quite challenging and the skating technique of course. The best of the sport is learning new things and being part of the team. We are good friends and we keep in contact in spear time too.
Do you have experience of some other sports? And if so, has it some influence in your skills in synchro?
Matti Heinonen: We have some experience of ski jumping, Finnish baseball, orienteering, volleyball, football and ice hockey. The only way this background has influenced is that “there is a little competitor inside all of us.” Of course for the former hockey players, it has been easier to learn how to skate.
Do you think that synchro is a good sport for men and do you wish there were more male teams?
Matti Heinonen: Synchro is a very challenging sport but it gives a lot. It´s an excellent sport for men too and it would be desirable to have more male teams. We especially want to encourage boys among figure skating. This is our mission, we really want to break prejudices.
What are your future plans? Are you going to compete next season?
Matti Heinonen: Of course we will skate next season but we don´t know yet if we are competing or just doing some performances, or some mix of these in purpose to promote male synchro. We hope and believe that we can continue for years now.
We want to thank especially our dear families and loved wives. Without them and their support, we couldn´t do this! To be honest it has sometimes been very challenging to combine the needs of children and family with the training and competing but we have managed. We have altogether almost 40 children and we always want to put their hobbies first.