Interviews Reports Photos      

The Book of Figure Skating by Johanna Allik

The Book of Figure Skating: More than figure skating
„More than figure skating“ is the motto and motive of former Estonian skater Johanna Allik, who has realized a project very dear to her with „The Book of Figure Skating“. The book focuses on skating as a life style.

The author covers on more than 300 pages very different aspects of the sport in form of interviews, articles on topics such as health, nutrition, costumes, make up and rules. In the first chapter, Allik tells her own story. She was a promising young skater from Estonia that first competed in singles and later in ice dance. She talks openly about how her coach at the time pushed her into an eating disorder by suggesting she should throw up after a meal. At the end of her career, Johanna returned to single skating and retired in 2017 after a flawless free skating and a fourth place finish at the Estonian Championships. This was the happiest day of her career, as she writes.

Today, the Estonian is working together in her family business JIV Sport – a sports clothing company that her mother Kersti founded in 2002 and that now is the outfitter of U.S. Figure Skating among others.

“Since my earliest memories, figure skating has held a special place in my heart, a longing that transcends it being merely a sport. From dedicating 25 hours a week to the ice, I’ve evolved into someone who embraces life beyond the rink’s confines,” Johanna writes. “Along this transformative journey, I’ve encountered moments of triumph and faced challenges head-on. Battling and conquering eating disorders, forging friendships that span the globe, experimenting with different facets of figure skating, and even stepping away only to start anew—through it all, my unwavering flame for figure skating has never flickered. It’s not just an activity; it’s a lifestyle.“

Allik’s main motivation to write the book was to promote the sport. “I've always wanted to promote figure skating in the various ways that I can,” she said. “In the past, it's been via videos. Or just also by making the clothes. But when I started writing the book, I found really a lot of motivation when I figured out that I can add so much value to the book by doing those special interviews and adding those original photos, and I just feel like the book itself already brings value to figure skating, and that was my biggest motivation.”

The biggest challenge for the former athlete was to create the concept of the book. She wanted to discuss all aspects, also the difficult ones, but remain positive at the same time. “It took a couple of months to figure out the concept. I knew I wanted to cover a lot of topics. One thing that really was difficult for me to figure out was how do I cover the not so good topics such as food and health and everything that has to do with it.” She then realized that the best way to discuss these topics is by interviewing experts. “So my idea was that whatever I write in this book, it has to be still motivating and inspiring,” she pointed out. “I feel like there is enough negativity about our sport. I just felt like I will try to keep this more positive.”
Allik first talks about the history of figure skating, the development of the judging system and presents the disciplines from the point of view of a former competitive athlete. She suggests to remain open for everything – she herself switched to ice dance after she had a severe injury.

Johanna interviewed well-known skaters and coaches such as Ilia Malinin, Loena Hendrickx, Romain Haguenauer, Rafael Arutiunian, Ari Zakarian and filimg artist Jordan Cowan and asked them the questions she always was interested in and touches aspects outside the sport as well. Malinin reveals what is important to him outside the ice – to be creative and have time for other things, but he also talks about his jumping ability. “Once the work is done, the key is to commit to the jump”, Malinin shared. “I’ve trained my quads for years and I’ve experienced hesitation. When hesitating, the jumps don’t work out. Once I had self-confidence and trust and started landing the jumps, I really committed to them 100% every time I jumped.” The ISU Grand Prix Final Champion added proudly “I am here to change the sport”.

Hendrickx emphasizes the artistic aspect of the sport in her interview. “I like going out of my comfort zone and challenge myself with different styles. It’s not always easy, but it keeps it fresh. So, I think I can be described as someone whose style is to be versatile and interesting,” the European Champion commented. “I want to encourage other skaters to also explore more styles. I believe it makes the sport evolve and become more interesting.”

Nutrition is an important point for Allik in her book. “Food is fuel and my body is my motor”, she stated. Unfortunately, in an esthetic sport as figure skating eating disorders are common and are often swept under the rug. In her interview with nutrition expert Kerstin Joandi Allik discussed the the origin of eating disorders and how to recognize them. A deficit in nutrition leads almost always to injuries and deteriorating perfomances. In other chapters, Allik talks about preventing injuries, about rehabilitation and mental health. Costumes are another topic, after all they play an important role in figure skating.

“My idea was that whatever I write in this book, it has to be still motivating and inspiring,” Johanna said about her key message. “When you open up the book, you can open up your world to more options on how to skate. It is a light read, but I think anybody who reads it will find out something that is new and informative and interesting to them. So I think my main message to my readers is that I hope that when they read it, they will also realize that first of all they don't have to do this for anybody else than themselves. If they feel like what they're doing now, isn't the right path for them, but they still really, really love figure skating, I do hope this book will inspire them to find new ways on how to exist in the world of figure skating. You as a reader, as someone who does figure skating or ice skating, can do it in a different way. And you might even be happier. If you're not doing it for yourself, you're not going to be happy. But if you find your place in figure skating and you do it for yourself, if you're not even going to be competing and you might just be doing shows you will most likely be happier than you will be sticking to something that is not for you.”

Allik joined the family business after retiring from competitive skating. “In the beginning, it was really more about just very basic clothing and then some club wear. In 2018, I joined and then we really started thinking more broadly and more about how can this brand not just be about the clothes, but also about the movement. I am trying to build a community and I am trying to make clothes that are not just clothes and that actually make people happy,” the former athlete shared.
Johanna Allik wants her book to be an invitation to discover figure skating as a life style, as “a chance for us to share laughter, gain knowledge together, and adopt fresh habits that nurture the evolution of our best selves. Let’s recall the unique qualities that define us as figure skaters, savoring every nuance,“ she summed up.

The richly illustrated book provides a comprehensive introduction to the world of figure skating and is of interest to young figure skaters and their parents, but also to competitive and amateur athletes as well as to fans who want to take a closer look at individual aspects.

Johanna Allik: The Book of Figure Skating, 308 S., available as hard cover, can be ordered through JIV Sport and jiv(at)

Photos provided by JIV Sport