Comment Commentary: Iivo Niskanen’s monster skiing is a lean comfort in a disaster – post-speculation about message choices can stop right away

Finland was violently disappointed in the message, even two men collapsed. It is alarming that there is not even speculation about the choice of messages in advance, writes Marko Lempinen from Zhangjiakous.


Weather was exceptional, the race script dramatic. Sensational.

All of this was seen in the men’s normal post, which was already resolved at the opening leg after just over ten minutes of skiing: Russia escaped Alexei Tshervotkin cannonball to the horizon.

At the same time, the Finnish Quartet also froze – Ristomatti Hakola, Iivo Niskanen, Perttu Hyvärinen and Joni Mäki – gold dreams. The game was clearly decided earlier than anyone would have previously thought: peeing in a snowstorm was supposed to be easier than usual with traditional sections, no big differences were expected.

Unbelievable, the Finns’ dreams of the dimest medals seemed to be waning at that moment, as Hakola, who had totally collapsed during the opening leg, was a minute and 47 seconds behind. It is a ten mile jog for eternity.

In fact, the situation seemed undesirable in Finnish terms.

Until Iivo Niskanen, a miracle man from Kuopio, rushed to Zhangjiakou’s extremely heavy run. The three-time Olympic winner made the impossible possible.

Two Niskanen, who won a medal at these Olympics in the second leg of Finland, took the astonishingly part of the silver race: the difference was only 10 seconds after the first change, after almost a minute and a half after the first change.

Niskanen’s downhill skiing was one of the all-time message shows. It is no wonder that the competitors came to pat the race after the Finnish section in the finish area.

It had the same echoes as in the Oslo World Cup message, where Harri Kirvesniemi raised Finland from a hopeless situation to a medal hunt again.


Niskanen’s performance did not save Finland from the message flop either.

Hyvärinen, who had already skied twice in his life at the Olympics, had a lot of expectations for the third leg, but he was surprised by the medal race after the first 3.3 km free run. After that, there was nothing left to do.

Anchor Mäkik was not in the optimal stroke either, but it was mainly his job to open his seats for Wednesday’s pair print. Hill’s choice for that race past Hakola is bomb-proof.

In the end, Finland was sixth in a message in which, after Russia – the best ski country in the world at the moment – Norway fought for silver before France, which had won bronze.

Finland froze in the same place as a year ago at the World Championships in Oberstdorf. Now, in maximally slow conditions, expectations were much higher – at least for the Olympic bronze, there had to be brilliant seams.

Hakola suffered a ski disaster as he didn’t stay in the pee even in the downhill. Hakola had also been admitted behind the scenes by the maintenance team. Hyvärinen also suffered from some weak skiing.

In the big picture, however, it was much bigger: Hakola’s lungs had remained in the traces of the flu in Jämi, and the man had not had time to return to his normal condition. Everything else.

“The harshest experience of my life. The message contest, the guys are waiting, and actually pulling the ass in the right direction. A rugged journey, ”Hakola admitted in his interview after Yle for his share.

Ristomatti Hakola sent Iivo Niskanen to the second leg in the Olympic message.

In February 2009 Iivo Niskanen was a 17-year-old teen skier watching on television how the Finnish Quartet Matti Heikkinen, Sami Jauhojärvi, Teemu Kattilakoski and Ville Nousiainen skied brilliantly for the World Championship bronze medal at the Liberec Games.

At that time, the barely lively boys had a hunch that when they reached the top themselves, Finland would not have been able to renew its normal medal once. Hardly would an Olympic winner have guessed that he might not achieve a single medal in his staggering career. It already seems threatening for the Olympics.

Zhangjiakou’s message left the impression that Finland, with the exception of Niska, was completely empty, right in the moonlight. If the discussions about the ski choices started, but they are useless.

Only six skiers are involved in the Beijing Games, of which Remi Lindholm lost to Hakola in the traditional 15 km for up to about 50 seconds, not a sprinter Lauri Vuorinenka the choice would have helped nothing, because as many as two men from the Finnish Quartet betrayed. It is also worth remembering that Hakola has mainly been a reliable message opener.

The point is more here: how miraculously is Finland’s current level so modest that there is not even speculation about message choices in advance?

Finland was only allowed to send six male skiers to these competitions. Disaster.

The factual message flop revealed harshly.

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