Sveta Stepanova In Paris, France.

Sveta Stepanova is a 27-year-old freestyle slalom skater living in Minsk, Belarus. Originally from Vitebsk, she and her friends moved to Minsk to pursue their passion for slalom skating further. Sveta spent 2017 traveling and competing in many competitions around the world. At that time, some photographers (including my friend Bruno Santos) captured beautiful photos of her skating, which caught my attention on social media. I wanted to learn more about Sveta, so I presented this interview to her.

In Shanghai, China. Photo by Alex Shu

How old were you when you began skating?

I only began skating when I was 21 years old. Sometimes, I wish I had started earlier, but I am happy with what I have achieved in the past six years. Beyond the competition aspect, the most important thing to me is to have fun doing what I love.

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What were your first skates?

My first skates were a pair of Chinese off-brand fitness skates. These skates were poorly made and not fun to skate, so after three months, I bought a pair of Seba FRX skates, which were perfect for me. The difference in quality between the two skates was incredible! And, of course, what brand skates you use is very important for us. It is much easier to learn new tricks on high-quality skates.

What made you want to start skating? How did you first discover it?

One day, I was in St. Petersburg, Russia, and I saw skaters who were so fast, gliding across the streets. From that day on, I knew I wanted to become a skater, too. At first, I just wanted to feel the speed beneath my feet and use my skates to get around the city quickly. Then, I started researching skating and found information about freestyle slalom. I was so surprised by the beauty and technique of that sport. I believed that too be good at that type of skating, you had to start training, like in ice skating, with a coach from early childhood. But when I bought my first pair of skates, I decided to try freestyle slalom to see how I would like it, never expecting that one day I would participate in competitions.

In Shanghai, China. Photo by Alex Shu.

How difficult was it learning to skate slalom right after having just started?

I began to learn the basics of skating and doing my first freestyle slalom tricks simultaneously. At first, I was skating alone, so I watched some tutorials on YouTube by Rekil. But very soon, I met some guys already doing tricks, so we began to skate together. They helped me, especially my friend Andrew, to learn the basics of slalom skating. The level of slalom in the world was so high then that we had to start learning new tricks. This was accomplished thanks to watching videos, going to competitions, and skating with more experienced skaters.

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How is the slalom scene in Belarus? Who do you enjoy skating with the most?

Unfortunately, freestyle slalom is not popular in Belarus. But I’m happy that I met good friends in the beginning in Vitebsk, and we grew together daily. Now we are living in Minsk, me and my guys, Filipp Stalmakov and Sasha Shedov. This is the best skating crew for me, and we all still skate together.

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Have you done it, or do you do any other discipline of inline skating?

I like to skate around the city, especially cities in new countries. Some day, I want to try a skate-cross course. But so far, I haven’t been to any competitions that skate-cross are part of. Maybe this will be the season I get to try it!

Are there any disciplines of skating outside of slalom you enjoy watching?

Besides freestyle, I like to watch aggressive skating. I especially like to watch edits of Montre Livingston. His style is so awesome! Even though I don’t practice aggressive skating, watching people like him skate inspires me. For me, style is everything.

In Shanghai, China. Photo by Alex Shu.

How many hours a day do you spend practicing?

In the winter, finding suitable locations to train isn’t easy, so I can only skate for about 2-hours a day. In the summer, I skate a lot more.

Are you part of a skate crew? Who sponsors you?

At first, we formed a crew called Mad Roller Club in Vitebsk. It was a long time ago, but it was such a cool moment. Soon after, we moved to Minsk and found different sponsors. For three years, I was sponsored by a shop that noticed me skating in competitions. Then, in 2017, I joined the InMove Skates team.

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Tell me about InMove Skates.

InMove Skates was created by Alex Shu a few years ago and is both a shop and a team. Being part of this team is awesome and a big opportunity for me. With my teammates Filipp Stalmakov and Sasha Shedov, we are participating in competitions, traveling, training, and having common goals. InMove Skates helps us with equipment (skates, wheels, bearings, etc.) and covers travel expenses. So this is ideal for me now! Also, we are doing tutorials on YouTube about freestyle slalom, the basics of skating, and slides. Also, while traveling, we take pictures, shoot videos, and try to show the beauty of slalom and popularize freestyle. This year, our team became international with the addition of Yuki Santoni from Italy.

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What are your favorite places that skating has taken you to? How often do you travel for skating?

Traveling with skates is the best part of my life. I try to travel as much as possible. Last year was a great year for competitions, and I visited France, China, Russia, and Spain. I try to take skates with me everywhere I go. During my skating career, I’ve skated on the streets of France, Germany, Italy, India, China, Ukraine, Spain, Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Belarus.

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Where would you love to skate that you haven’t been to?

I want to visit Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and other countries in South America someday. I plan to attend the WFSC (World Forum of Sport & Culture) in The Netherlands this year.

What are your favorite edits you have put out?

One of my favorite edits is definitely from Paris. I love skating in Paris! It is the perfect city, and it is so charming.

How often do you compete?

Last year, I competed in at least three three cones competitions. What I enjoy the most at these events is seeing old friends, meeting new friends, and learning new things about the world around us through travel.

What are your favorite competitions?

My favorite competition is the PSWC (Paris Slalom World Cup). And that may be because I fell in love with Paris itself. I also really liked the Berlin Inline Games I attended in 2016. Last year, I took part in the Arnold Classic Europe event in Barcelona. That was unusual competition for us, but an exciting experience and a super relaxed atmosphere.

Who are the hardest skaters to compete against?

The hardest are the skaters who are on your same level, or close to it. You feel like you can win; yet it makes you nervous.

What are your greatest personal achievements in skating?

The greatest achievement is my WSSA (World Slalom Skaters Association) ranking for the last year. I am ranked number 4 in speed slalom in the world, took 8th place in freestyle discipline, 2nd place in speed slalom on 3cones event at RCC, 5th place at EFSC in classic slalom, 4th place at ACE in battle and finally 1st place in classic, battle and speed slalom at BSS (our 2cones event in Belarus).

What are your future goals in skating?

My main goal is personal growth, like any athlete’s. I want to become more technically skilled and also more stylish and fluent. I also want to teach about five talented young skaters who want to participate in competitions. I already have some skate classes I offer children here. My goal is to help make slalom more popular in Belarus. And, of course, I want to continue traveling worldwide with skates and participate in competitions. It would also be great to take my classes in other countries

How long have you been teaching slalom skating?

I started teaching slalom long ago, but as a job, I have only been doing it for three years now. I used to have much more time to teach people before. But now I work as an orthodontist and don’t have the time to teach others as much. I have also experienced that if I have many students, I won’t find enough time to train for myself. To balance out my time, I now only take students who are beginners of slalom and want to compete.

Video of Sveta Stepanova Skating Slalom on 3-Wheel Frames

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How does a skating slalom on a 3×100+ setup differ from a 4×80 setup? Do you have to change your style of skating or re-learn any tricks? Is there anything you can’t do on that with the 3×100 setup?

My usual setup is 4×76, and in previous years it was 4×72. This year, I tried the 3×110 Seba frame for the first time, and I like it. I like the speed and control you get on them when skating around the city. I tried skating freestyle slalom on 3×100 frames for fun. The wheel size makes doing spinning tricks so easy, but at first, it gave me problems with my footwork. Now, there are no tricks that I can’t do on these frames. I also tried them out on Speed Slalom and liked them, so maybe this year I will take part in competitions with them.

What were the most challenging tricks for you to learn?

I’m working on backward spinning and hope to have enough time to master it before the competition season. I like this trick so much that I enjoy learning it.

Do you ever travel to different places to teach skating?

I’ve just taught some lessons in Ukraine. Soon, I hope to teach classes in other parts of the world.

What skater influenced your skating the most throughout your career? Who is your current favorite skater?

During my skating life, I had different favorites. I like Feng Hui; she is one of the best skaters for me. She is so inspiring and so emotional, and I like her classics. I also like Igor Cheremetieff and Carlos Nelson; their skating is unique. It is awesome when you have your unique style and footwork. Before, I liked European skating the most, but in the past two years, I’ve become a fan of Asian style. Ye Hao Qin and Zhang Hao are two of my favorite skaters now!

Who is the greatest slalom skater of all time?

Oh, this is a difficult question! Maybe Kim Sung Jim. His skating career was great; now, through his dancing, he inspires many skaters worldwide.

I’ve seen many beautifully shot photos of you; who are your favorite photographers to work with?

We always try to get good photos, but last year was especially awesome. I especially like to take photos with Bruno Santos. We met this year at the PSWC and were able to take several cool photos throughout Paris. I’ve also had several great photos taken this year by Alex Shu.

Do you do any other sports outside of skating?

Yes, I am crazy about snowboarding! I love it, and of course I love the mountains! I am thrilled there. Also, I like to learn new snowboarding tricks when I am there. And if I lived by the ocean, I would surf for sure!

What are your favorite edits you have put out?

One of my favorite edits is definitely from Paris. I love skating in Paris! It is the perfect city, and it is so charming.

Sveta Stepanova Skating in the 2017 Paris Slalom Competition


  • Follow Sveta Stepanova on Instagram to see more of his skating action.
  • Follow the InMove Team on Instagram and check out their YouTube page for videos and tutorials.
    To learn more about Slalom,, visit the World Slalom Series website at
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  1. […] Check out the interview we did with Sveta back in 2018: Interview with Freestyle Slalom Skater Sveta Stepanova of Minsk, Belarus. […]

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