Speed and roller skater Saskia Alusalu is renowned for her strong willpower and determination. She couldn’t imagine her life without training and recommends that everyone enjoy the great feeling that follows a physical workout. The joy of accomplishment and mental balance are a bonus.
Saskia comes from the small village of Adavere. She grew up in an apartment block where there were many children around the same age, and active leisure time activities were part of her everyday life. They held competitions in different sports, and two older sisters of Saskia helped the younger ones organise them. At Adavere School, students were able to frequently attend competitions between schools and Saskia challenged herself in basketball, volleyball, football, athletics, skiing and skating.
“At that time, skating didn’t have a bigger meaning for me. Nobody had speed skates; people only had figure skates or hockey skates, and I wasn’t even aware that speed skating existed as I had never seen it. One year, a boy came to the skating competition with speed skates and everyone wondered how it was possible to skate so fast. After that, at the initiation of Väino Treiman, our school received speed skates from Finland and anyone interested could try them out. I did too, but I wasn’t really thrilled at the beginning because it felt so different,” she says.
Determination comes first
Although Saskia didn’t do well in skating at the beginning, at one point the ball began to roll. After the first competition abroad, she started to like speed skating more and more and her other sports were left aside. Year after year, the training became more intense, but Saskia didn’t initially decide to commit to speed skating. The first serious decision by Saskia to commit to speed skating was in 2011, when she went to study at Inzell Speed Skating Academy in Germany. She had two more years left in high school and leaving Estonia meant that she had to study independently.
“My trainer Tristan Loy said that he had never seen a 17-year-old girl with such determination before. As soon as I had finished training, I had my study books ready on the lunch table. I didn’t find it anything special actually. It felt normal, and graduating successfully from high school was very important for me. When I look back now, I don’t know how I was able to complete all those steps back then. It seems harder now than it actually was.”
For a better me
Determination, goals and high motivation are the keywords that describe Saskia to this day. She says that she is not sure what motivates her in sports, despite many difficulties. “Maybe I don’t take “no” for an answer. I believe there is always a chance. I want to be better today than I was yesterday and give my best when speed skating. I think I would be mad at myself for the rest of my life if I felt I could have done more, that I could have put in more effort,” she says.
Saskia feels she is developing year after year. At the moment, she is working the most on the technical aspect of skating, which is hard to improve; however, this shows her that there is more room for development. Becoming even better is the thing that motivates Saskia the most.
Capable of anything
Despite some setbacks, our best speed skater has never had any serious thoughts of giving up sports. She cannot live without training for more than a couple of days and she believes that the biggest training motivation for everyone should be the great feeling after a workout and the joy of accomplishment; these results can be seen very fast. “I also have had many exercise sessions after which I can barely walk up the stairs. I need to change some aspects of my performance and give a lot of myself in almost all the workouts. Excelling myself motivates me in everything – if I look at my training schedule, which looks like something that is impossible to do, and then complete it, I feel I am almighty,” explains Saskia.
According to Saskia, the charm of exercise lies in the mental benefit of it in addition to the physical aspect. If you are experiencing any stress or problems that you haven’t been able to solve in your life, a training goal also helps you to overcome these problems. “If you set yourself a goal to go run 5 kilometres a couple of times a week and it becomes a routine, it motivates you to do other things as well. I know that the hardest part of the journey is from the armchair to the gym, but after you have arrived and completed the warm-up, there is no problem with training,” says Saskia.
Saskia’s training is supported by Nike and she considers the clothing and footwear of this brand a very comfortable and good-looking choice. Cool training gear also motivates you and Saskia has never worn any trainers better than Nike.
“They have a very good selection of footwear and all their lifestyle clothes are also very cool. With Nike, I also like the people who work there. I always get good advice on what to choose and what and how to wear. I don’t like shopping too much and it is very convenient when someone helps you to choose out a few things,” she says, in expressing her satisfaction.