Charlotte Kalla: The atmosphere in Falun is special
Looking back, it’s the best season in her career so far. But Charlotte Kalla doesn’t look back; she has her sights set on the upcoming World Championships in Falun.
- I was there in Turkey in 2010 when Falun was awarded the Championships. It felt like a long time away then but now, it is becoming reality, says Kalla.
It’s yet another one in a long series of hot summer days. The Swedish national team is training in Torsby. The morning session featured roller skiing above Tosseberg (few miles south of Torsby) while the afternoon was designated to a workout in the cross-country skiing tunnel. In short, just another day at work for Charlotte Kalla.
- My training has gone well recently. I feel that I’m exactly where I want to be at this point, says Charlotte after lunch, drinking coffee outside the team residence.
Last winter was the best season in her career so far. Its highlights were the two individual silver medals at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games (skiathlon and 10 km classical) and the gold in the relay where Kalla sprinted to victory in the finish after an amazing catch-up race in the anchor leg.
What is your greatest memory from last season?
- I am often reminded of the relay. But I have fond memories of the entire Games. It was a great feeling to be there in such good shape and win my first individual medal since Vancouver 2010. Besides Sochi, I especially recall the 10km classical race in Lillehammer. I was in the lead after the first lap. I almost couldn’t believe how much time some of my competitors had lost. It felt as if all my energy was going exactly where I wanted. I could ski relaxed and push hard at the same time. It was an unbelievable feeling.
How easy has it been to recharge after such a successful Olympic season?
- It has not been that easy after last season. I’ve faced new challenges. There have been many requests, of all kinds, and I have declined more of them than I did in the past. In April and May there were other things taking my time, but I’ve accepted how it is now and work from that basis. Recently my training has been really good, says Charlotte.
Have you made any changes for this season?
- I want to continue to develop and am really motivated to do what it takes. I have collected many experiences in the past, but I also know that there are some things I can still do better. From a technical perspective, I want to discover the key to skiing more effectively. To do that, I think I will need to ski on snow a lot. Roller skiing is good training but it is not the same. You always have good kick and a different point of balance. That is why I am making sure to ski on snow all year round. I won’t have long breaks between ski camps during the summer months. The more you do something the better you get at it, says Charlotte smiling.
In 2010, Charlotte Kalla joined teammates Anna Haag and Emil Jönsson for the presentation of Falun’s World Championships concept at the FIS Congress in Turkey where Falun was elected the organiser of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2015.
Now, about four years later, Charlotte is getting ready for a season with home Worlds.
- I like to race in Falun. The atmosphere there is special. It is cool to compete on home snow and feel the support of the crowds. It is obvious that we now think of the Championships in Falun regularly. For example, when I was skating up the hill in Tosseberg this morning, I knew that the vertical meters I covered are going to be important in Falun, says Charlotte who has been extremely consistent when racing there. She has finished in the top six in the World Cup Final in Falun every time in the last six years. Four times she placed third.
The World Championships will begin on the 18th of February. But much would seem to indicate that Charlotte will be competing in Falun already a month before that. The FIS Scandinavian Cup in Cross-Country Skiing will be staged on the World Championships courses on 9-11th January.
- It will be a fantastic opportunity to compete on the World Championships courses beforehand. It won’t be easy to skip those races, says Charlotte, who has decided not to start in this year’s FIS Tour de Ski, which will take place in early January.
What are your goals for the World Ski Championships in Falun?
- I hope that they will go well. But I am not going to discuss any medal goals. Those I will keep to myself, says Charlotte Kalla before she treads towards the ski tunnel.
There is another workout to get done.
Contributed by FIS WSC Falun 2015, text: Mårten Lång