By Teemu Virtanen
Once again, the power of publicity became very evident when an article about the Italian Pro Team SottoZero Trentino Zorzi Max’s search for new female athletes set the wheels in motion. The article created a bit of buzz all over Europe, and the team received my applications from almost every corner of the continent. Many hopeful prospects from Russia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Finland contacted the management seeking a spot in the team.
According to the director of the team Michele Pasqualotto, they organized a special online casting and interview session with each candidate and selected three suitable women who met the criteria for the enrollment. Sweden and Finland were the lucky countries to be included in this Italian gang of merry men and women.
“I thank Visma Ski Classics for the article as it turned out to be very successful for us. We are now enthusiastic about this new experience and challenge that it is about to start with one Finnish and two Swedish young female athletes,” says Michele very zealously.
The new female team members are as follows:
Malin Börjesjö (SWE)
"I live in Umeå, Sweden, and I study civil engineering. The last two ski seasons, I have competed for the college ski team at Northern Michigan University (NMU) in the USA. I really enjoyed being a part of a team that supports and pushes each other. This is one of the two main reasons why I decided to join the SottoZero Pro Team Trentino Zorzi Max. The other reason is my big goal to ski in the Visma Ski Classics series. Ever since my childhood, I loved long distance skiing, mainly being a spectator at Vasaloppet when I was young but lately also an athlete. I really look forward to being a part of the best Italian Pro Team".
Maja Eriksson (SWE)
"I am 21 years old and live in Sweden. I am an elite cross-country skier who lives in Östersund to get the best opportunities to develop as a cross-country skier. When I saw the article about Pro Team SottoZero Trentino Zorzi Max, I became interested immediately. I am driven by development and want to see how good I can become. I have always loved double-poling, and I have tried long-distance for two years now. I love it and the challenge that comes with it. My will and motivation are stronger and bigger than ever before. It’s very important to love the hard work and the hard training, and that’s the most important thing for me. I love to train hard and reach new heights."
"Earlier in my career, I was successful in sprint, with a bronze medal at the Youth National Championships. But when you have high goals and love to train, you can push your body too hard, and that what’s happened to me. I over-trained and had a couple of though years, but now I’m back on track again, and my body finally agrees with me. Last season was my first year as a senior skier. Since the beginning of my skiing career, I have always watched Vasaloppet on TV and have participated in different races during ”Vasaloppsveckan”. For a long time, I have had the goal to ski in Visma Ski Classics. That, along with being part of a team, are the reasons why I chose to join SottoZero Trentino Zorzi Max. In SottoZero, I'm going to get the chance to develop as a long distance skier together with the Team".
Annika Sjöström (FIN)
"I’m Annika Sjöström from Finland. Besides my skiing career, I work full-time as a software engineer at Valmet, a Finnish developer and supplier of technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. I´m really looking forward to competing with Sotto Zero Pro Team this year. The team is professional, and it´s a really nice dynamic group.”