When Iivo Niskanen lost on Saturday in seventh place in the 30 km combined race to another Olympic winner Dario Colognalle, it was a kind of reminder of the career trajectory of a top athlete and the inevitable cycle of sport.
The Swiss Cologna, 34, is on the eve of his career, but ten years ago he also won a combination race on these same Lahti trails.
Niskanen will probably remember that race well, as it was his first appearance in the World Cup personal competitions.
Niskanen was 19 at the time, and the result was 69th place with LAP. That means under the leadership of Cologna, the top men caught Niskanen in the round, and the young man’s contract ended bluntly.
The distance in 2011 was 20 kilometers. The breaks said that at 13.7 km, Niskanen had been 3 minutes and 38 seconds behind Cologna, the previous year’s Olympic champion.
Less than three years after that race, at the age of 22, Niskanen was the Olympic champion in sprinting and reached 0.2 seconds for a bronze medal in the 15 km (p) race at the Sochi Olympics, which Cologna won by far.
HS said on Saturday from the age of 20 Petteri Koivisto, for whom he achieved a 50 km World Championship bronze (2017) in these same Lahti landscapes Matti Heikkinen now works as a mentor, as part of an exceptional story the transition of a major sponsorship agreement from veteran to promise.
On Saturday, Koivisto finished 50th in the fourth mc race of his career and lost six minutes and 36 seconds to the winner.
It was quite a matter of fact, as Koivisto got to the finish line. So he was not caught in the round.
Koivisto must have already received views from Heikkinen on what is required to climb to the top of skiing. On the same topic, he should ask Niskanen, his companion at Puijo Ski Club.