Swedish Princess to welcome ice-skating elite in Stockholm
Stockholm's first major figure skating championship in almost 70 years is underway at the Ericsson Globe, with Sweden's Alexander Majorov in action today in the men's short programme.
The 23-year-old only decided last Friday to compete in the European championship after battling to overcome an achilles injury.
"I talked about it with the Swedish Figure Skating Federation and they persuaded me to particpate and I love them for that because it was so hard to decide myself as I haven't competed since last year... It was a scary decision to make," Majorov tells Radio Sweden.
How much pain are you in?
"It hurts the same as being kicked in the nuts. You get a shock to the body and you fall down but the pain slowly started disappearing from December. It hurts a lot but it is manageable now."
Majorov is aiming for a top 10 finish. He is one of three figure skaters representing Sweden. The sisters Viktoria and Joshi Helgesson also go into the championship having experienced illness and injury. After a fall in her first event at the Sochi Olympics, 26-year-old Viktoria, who finished fifth in the Europeans in 2012, is feeling confident about performing in front of her home crowd.
"It has been a hard season for me and I have taken it one step at a time, but I have done two good competitions now and I feel confident," Viktoria Helgesson tells Radio Sweden.
Organisers hope for around 40,000 visitors throughout the week of competition and aim to replicate the boost in popularity that the sport experienced after the Euro's in Malmö in 2003 and the Worlds in Gothenburg in 2008.
This is also the first time in the pairs and singles that the performance music can be accompanied by lyrics. The theme of the Stockholm-staged competition is ice and frost, with a special one ton medal podium sculptured from ice delivered from the far North.
Although the men's short programme was already underway Wednesday afternoon, the championships will be officially opened by Crown Princess Victoria in the evening, complete with a choral and dance version of Abba's Dancing Queen.