The new Sports Director of The Swedish Figure Skating Association is from Canada and called Scott Rachuk. In a big interview with Skatesweden he talks about his visions and hopes regarding Swedish figure skating.
Taking on the job meant a move for the whole family. Still, he didn’t hesitate when the offer came.
– I saw this as a challenge and at the same time an opportunity, both professionally and personally. My wife and I wanted to experience a new culture and way of life. It’s very exciting to take part in a new organization and bring my outside perspective and be a part of developing Swedish Figure Skating and make it something special.
Scott Rachuk was a member of the Canadian National Team between 1984–1986 and went on to become a Coach. He competed as a single figure skater and coached both singles and pair skating. In the beginning of the 21st century he started up an elite program in the city of London, 200k west of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The program became very successful. Over the course of twelve years, more than one hundred figure skaters within the program entered the Canadian National Championships.
The great results were noticed and in 2014 Scott was appointed Technical Director for figure skating in the province of Ontario. Figure skating has always had a strong hold in Canada, and Ontario has no less than 300 clubs and 75.000 members. Compared to Sweden’s total of 140 clubs and 30.000 members.
– In my role I was responsible to see that the skaters had a development pathway and received what they needed to reach their career goals. It could be anything from organizing camps, to working with the skater’s health, to being in contact with the government authorities.
Now, Scott Rachuk is taking on Swedish Figure Skating and is looking forward to stepping it up to a new level.
– Sweden has already been successful in synchro skating, we want the figure skaters to attain that same level of success. I want the skaters to grow and flourish where they have the best of opportunities to do so.
What do you think will be the most challenging part of bringing the skaters to that level?
– To have more skaters reach an Elite level. I attended the Swedish National Camp in August and saw that we have many good skaters with talent. But we need to double the number of skaters on this level, to increase the chance of one of them reaching all the way to International Medals.
What does your vision look like?
– I want all skaters to have a clear goal that they work towards. One example of this is having each skater set three goals for each competition that they are a part of, and then try to reach those goals. I will never tell them what to do specifically, but they need to learn from each competition in order to develop.
How shall we attract more skaters to train as pairs and ice dance in Sweden?
– We need to show the skaters and the coaches the alternatives. Some figure skaters are built to do single figure skating, some are more suited in other disciplines. It’s simply not for everyone to spin four times in a jump, I have to be honest with that. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that they must do what I suggest. But my role is to recommend to the skaters and coaches what I think they could be good at. We also need to train the coaches to work in other disciplines. That is how we will get more active pairs and ice dancers.
– We also need to address the fact that it is possible to train multiple disciplines at the same time. You don’t need to decide early in your skating, you can do that later, as a senior as one example.
Katarina Henriksson, President of the Swedish Figure Skating Association says that Scott Rachuk’s experiences are the right match for the job.
– He has met the same challenges that we are meeting now, strategically, goal oriented, and striving for an international Elite. It is a large bonus that he has worked at all levels, has been a figure skater himself, coach, team coach and worked with and for an association.
Previous Sports Directors, have had contracts for shorter terms (one Olympic term at a time), Scott Rachuk has signed on to 2026. He says that he already has set the goals that he will work towards.
– The Swedish Figure Skating Association has set high goals – medal in International Championships on a senior level. History tells us that it has not yet happened in modern times. We need to plan to reach that goal. The Worlds in Stockholm 2021 will of course be an important mile stone for the organization.
Finally, who are your favourite Figure Skaters of all times in each discipline?
–Among men, Kurt Browning (Canadian, took four gold medals in the Worlds 1989–1993). He is a personal friend but also a skater that could skate to any kind of music. Joannie Rochette (Canadian, Bronze medal at the Olympics 2010 and Silver at the Worlds 2009) who is both athletic and very talented, will be my pick for women. My favourite pair is Jekaterina Gordeeva and Sergej Grinkov (Sovjet/CIS/Russia, Olympic Champions 1988 and 1994) and among the ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Canada, Olympic Champions 2010 and 2018). Not only are they great Skater’s but also great people. In Synchro, Team Surprise (Sweden). They are simply the best Synchro Team ever. I have met some of the skaters on the Team. They were lovely and fun to talk to.