Comment Iivo Niskanen has been Ruka’s enduring success – now the Russians have gained more qualified evidence of hard impact

This weekend, the first situation report on Finland’s medal opportunities at the Beijing Olympics will be given at the Ruka World Cup, writes HS sports journalist Jussi-Pekka Reponen.

Finland the athletes won a total of 11 medals in the previous two Winter Olympics.

Seven of them came from cross-country skiing, three in Sochi (2014) and four in Pyeongchang (2018).

At the Beijing Olympics in February, the situation is roughly unchanged. In addition to hockey, the medal expectations are for cross-country skiers and the combined Ilkka to Herola.

This weekend, the first progress report on medal opportunities will be available at the Ruka World Cup.

Rukalla The Nordic Ski World Cup weekend has been held since 2002, and this time it will be the opening of the skiing and combined mc. Ski jumping has often gained momentum elsewhere as early as last week, as it does now.

For many years, Ruka’s mc opening has been the subject of a rather uncovered jump, even in the media, based on the domestic early winter races on easy trails.

On the basis of the mutu, they have speculated whether someone has skied the so-called international pace in the Finnish Cup. Ruka has then often stated that optimism is based more on wishful thinking.

Iivo Niskasen however, high expectations have generally materialized. Since 2014, Niskanen has reached or near the podium almost every year on Ruka’s demanding trails, and there have been three victories.

Once again, it is justified to expect hard performance from Niskane, especially on Saturday with his bravura trip, traditional skiing and 15-kilometer cross-country skiing, which is also on his main race Olympic tracks.

Now has even been available as an international benchmark. Niskanen skipped the Finnish Cups and competed four times in Olos Muonio.

There he won three competitions and defeated the best men in Russia, once again with the domination of the previous two World Cups. Alexander Bolshunov. Even in the fourth, he stayed well with the tip.

Niskanen and Krista Pärmäkoski have been the only Finnish skiers in recent years to have had realistic medal expectations in individual competitions at the Games.

Pärmäkoski has also performed in such a sharp blow in his early races that it compares to his best seasons. Last season isn’t one of them, but now everything looks good.

What about then Ilkka Herola, who won the first medal of his career at the last World Championships?

When you look at Herola’s results from Ruka, it’s easy to believe that she’s never enjoyed the hill of Ruka.

The best ranking is tenth, from last season, which was also the best career career in Kuopio in the World Cup.

On this basis, it is not worth drawing conclusions about Herola’s chances of succeeding in the Olympics on the basis of Ruka’s upcoming three competitions, if the investments remain modest in the old model.

It is a completely different matter whether Ruka can compete on the track in full and according to the program.

Numerous hill races have been canceled and relocated in Ruka, but skiing has always been possible, even though conditions have been end-to-end.

Now skis are threatened by frost on Saturday and Sunday. On Wednesday, the weather forecast was still about 20 degrees below zero, but on Thursday the forecasts had fortunately changed slightly for the better.

The freezing point of the competition is 20 degrees, and in addition the wind and humidity must be taken into account by the jury when making its decisions.

Ruka competes in 11 World Cup events from Friday to Sunday, six in skiing, three in combined and two in ski jumping. Yle and the Elisa Entertainment Viaplay live streaming service and the V sport + Finland channel show the competitions live.

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