Olympic Games Iivo and Kerttu Niskanen’s clothes bear the name of a mixed breed dog – and there is a reason for it

Juha Vidgren will organize a medal party for Iivo and Kerttu Niskanen and promises to see the Olympic winner in a new hobby next summer. He also explains why Niskaste’s clothes read the name of a variegated dog.


Forest machines manufacturer Ponsse has been a major supporter Iivo and Kerttu Niskasen on the way to medals in skiing.

Founder of Ponsse Einari Vidgren began cooperating with the young Niskastes even before the infamous Lahti World Championships in 2001, when six Finnish skiers suffered from doping.

Among the skiers were two Ponsse support athletes, Virpi Kuitunen (now Sarasvuo) and Jari Isometsä. Like many other supporters, Ponsse stopped supporting skiing at the top level for a long time, but the collaboration with junior Niskaste continued.

“The multiplier effect lasted ten years. The actual big collaboration with Niskasten only started then. During Einar, the support was initially small, a few hundred, and the minibus was lent for the Niskanen family’s race trips, ”Ponsse’s largest owner Juha Vidgren says.

The cooperation was not a coincidence, as the father of Iivo and Kertu Eero Niskanen acted as an installer at the Ponsse plant.

The logo of the Vieremäki sponsor has a place of honor in Iivo Niskanen’s training equipment. Picture from 2019.

“When Einari heard that Eero’s children are talented skiers, he started following their careers and playing rumors. It was quite late before the money started to move. Kerttu first got up, and then we started talking that Iivok would still be like this here, ”says Juha Vidgren, 52, from the beginning of the cooperation.

With the success, the value of the cooperation agreement is considerable. Vidgren is not talking about exact sums.

“It doesn’t go into hundreds of thousands of euros,” Vidgren says.

Before Niskasia Ponsse’s best-known logo athlete was a spear thrower Tero Pitkämäki, which has been a long – term partner of the company since 2004. Pitkämäki’s career as a top athlete was just beginning.

“We got a good background through Pitkämäki, there were clear rules of the game. We learn the rules of sponsorship in it, ”says Vidgren.

The first known athlete supported by Ponsse was a racer Valentin Kononen in the beginning of 1990’s. Ponsse’s connection to Konose was his masseuse Martti Ronkainenwho came from Sonkajärvi, a neighbor of Vieremä.

“Martti was a former skier who was the only one allowed to sit on the same benches when Juha Mieto skied directly to the sauna at the Lahti World Championships in 1978, ”says Vidgren.

For his part, it is clear that Ponsse will continue to work with Iivo and Kertu as long as they continue their careers.

“Let’s get things right and put the body of the agreement on paper. The previous contract must have been on my desk for just over four years. I don’t remember if it’s signed or not, ”Vidgren laughs.

To the agreement There is also a cash bonus on the gold medal. Vidgren has not yet decided what other bonus there could be.

Einari Vidgren was a well-known breeder and owner of trotting horses. Vidgren and his brothers still have Ravitalli Einari Vidgrén Oy, which has trotting horses, breeding mares and foals. Iivo Niskanen is also an avid pharmacist.

Would Iivo qualify for a good foal as a bonus for Olympic gold?

“It’s probably something we’re thinking about. It’s not a bad idea to give a foal as a bonus, ”Vidgren says, but promises nothing.

However, he already dares to promise that Iivo will be seen in a new hobby next summer.

“I’m pretty sure Iivo will drive a horse card and see him at the race start in July in Einar’s time.”

Vieremä has a summer track strongly supported by Einari Vidgen.

“Many don’t know that Eero and Iivo are good singers.”

Iivo and Kerttu Niskanen’s medal party will be held on Tuesday in Einar Park in Vieremä. Einari Vidgren was the father of Juha Vidgren and the founder of Ponsse.

Tuesday Vidgren, together with the municipality of Vieremä, is organizing a folk festival for Iivo and Kertu in Einar Park, which respects his father’s name. Vidgren expects up to a couple of thousand partygoers at the venue.

“Many do not know that Eero and Iivo are good singers. Know even if they pulled a surprise number for Kertu at an evening event, ”Vidgren hints.

The party ends with a big world style fireworks display.

“Yes, it’s worth taking every four years.”

“I wanted to give something back to my village.”

The new Rientola is a modern village house built by Juha Vidgren and a former conservatory house, where the skiing of Iivo and Kertu was followed.

Beijing during the olympics, the Iivo and Kertu medals were celebrated three times in Rientola, where the villagers were excited and watched the skis from a large video board. Ponsse offered medal coffees and buns.

The place gained international publicity when Norwegian television went to film the festive humor in Rientola.

“The schoolchildren were also experienced to experience the medals and to hear the march of the people of Pori,” says Vidgren.

Rientola is a former youth club, founded in 1914. From 1922 to 1944, it served as a conservation community building until it was converted into the premises of Vieremän Koito, a local sports club.

Still in the winter of 2018 at the Rientola premises was filmed Juicefilm until the old building was demolished and construction of the new one began immediately thereafter.

The new Rientola is a modern village house personally funded by Juha Vidgren.

“I wanted to give something back to my village. It has been great to live in a safe environment. The sport was strongly present. I remember watching the Olympic Skiing at Lake Placid in 1980 on black and white television at school, ”says Vidgren, who also skied at the Upper Savo Championships that same year.

He received his award at Rientola.

“Great memories remained.”

“There’s a picture of a Ponsse dog.”

Rientola’s old notice board tells about the performers who visited the house.

Renew Iivos and Kerttuja do not grow on every branch. However, there are a few local young athletes on the watch list for Vidgren and Ponsse, which the company supports with small sums.

“We don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on them too early,” Vidgren says.

Skeeters enjoy little support from Ponsse Roope Kanninensprinter Topi Huttunen and Mikko Kauppinenwho was astonished in October by running a wild result of 3,830 meters in the Cooper test.

Iivo Niskanen was one of the first to be amazed at Kauppinen’s running results, especially when he had no previous running experience.

Huttunen ran his record in the semi-finals (6.97) in the Finnish Championships in Kuopio on Saturday in the 60 meters.

Niskasista and there are many stories about Rientola, as well as about Ponsse.

Einari Vidgren built his first forest machine from different and different colored parts. The plane was a strange sight in Vieremä.

A village man compared the first forest machine to a multi-colored mixed-breed dog named Ponsse running across the village.

“Then it’s Ponsse,” Einari Vidgren is said to have said about his plane.

Juha Vidgren confirms the story.

“The inventor of the name is not known, but there is also a picture of a Ponsse dog. However, it has not been introduced so that everyone can think of the Ponsse dog in their minds. ”

In sports, the deal is simple: Ponsse makes forest machines, athletes do sports.

Iivo Niskanen and the medal catch.

Kerttu Niskanen and the medal joy.

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