Emma Wiken: I’m still a bit shocked that things went so well last season

13 September 2013 00:00
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Last season saw her first major international breakthrough. And now Emma Wikén is getting ready to take the next big steps in her cross-country career during the coming winter seasons.

“Having the World Ski Championships to work towards, with the tracks outside my back door, gives me a tremendous kick. There aren’t many that get an opportunity like that”, says 24-year old Emma, who moved to Falun just a year ago.

And it was last year too that Emma Wikén of the Åsarna club was selected for the Swedish cross-country team and it didn’t take long until the results started to roll in. In fact, it was at the first event of the season, the 5 km classic style at Bruksvallarna, that she beat all her team mates in the national team.

“Yes, those events at Bruksvallarna were decisive for the rest of the season for me. I’d been feeling good about the skiing all the autumn but it wasn’t until then that I really realized how well I felt,” Emma WIkén laughs.

And there’s every reason for her to be happy about the past season. She was a member of the Swedish relay team that won silver in the World Championships and she finished fourth in the Championships race at Davos, only 18 seconds after the winner.

“Even though it’s several months since the end of the season, I’m still a bit shocked that things went so well. I hadn’t made any changes in my training programme but I’d managed to keep free from injury and practice everything I wanted to. It’s also been incredibly valuable for me to have the competition from my team-mates on the Swedish team during interval training.

Last summer Emma moved home from Östersund to Falun, so she’ll be able to train on the WSC tracks this winter:

“Obviously it’s a great advantage to have access to the Championships tracks all the time and to get to know the terrain. And for me it means extra security feeling at home in the surroundings. And of course I’ll have had plenty of time to get to know Falun – should I be selected for the World Championships team, which of course is my prime target”, Emma says unassumingly.

So just how special is it, training for a World Championships on your home tracks?

“Well there aren’t many that get that kind of opportunity. And for me it really will be home now and that gives me huge motivation in my training. It’ll be terrific to ski on the awesome tracks that have been laid out at Lugnet, really challenging. The area on and around the Killer Hill will contribute to that, that’s for sure,” Emma says.

But the Swedish cross-country skiers won’t have to wait until 2015 for a major championships challenge. The Winter Olympics in Sotji, Russia is being held this winter at high altitude.

“We’ll be having several high-altitude training camps during the autumn. I didn’t have much experience of that up to only a year ago. But then, last season, we went to three or four camps. Both in Davos where I came fourth in the World Cup and at the Under 23s World Championships in Turkey, where I made second, third and fourth places, the events were held at high altitudes. So I reckon it should suit me fine”, Emma Wikén concludes.

Text: Mårten Lång