The first thing that comes on your mind when you think about Finland is alcohol. But the older ski jumping fans remember that Finland means much more than that. Several years ago Finland’s athletes has ruled the ski jumping world. Right now they are having supporting roles. Year by year they got less and less financial support but they keep trying to get back to the top. Unfortunately, that is quite unlikely to happen soon.
The World Champinships in Lahti wasn’t successful for the hosts. None of their athletes finished in the TOP20, while their 6th place in the team competition was one of the best results they had from main events in the past years. To repeat the same performance at the Winter Olympic Games is not going to be that easy.
Team Finland has some athletes who brought much excitement and joy to the fans in the past. Right now, they are shadows of themselves. Janne Ahonen is preparing to the WOG and appears in the World Cup from time to time. His shape in Lahti wasn’t bad., however that’s not a compliment for such a legend.
The biggest hope of Suomi in the upcoming season is Ville Larinto. Many fans say that he’s the talent who got affected by injuries. That’s not totally wrong. Almost seven years ago, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany, Larinto was performing very good – he won the World Cup competition and was on the podium five times that season. After his comeback his best rank was only a 15th place. According to the latest unofficial informations, Larinto is very confident and is in a good shape. In two weeks we’ll see if that’s the true.
We can’t forget about the 22-years-old Antti Aalto who made a huge progress during the previous season. It’s almost sure that he’s one of the hopes of Finland who might gain World Cup points in the next years.
The strongest candidate to complete the Finnish four is Jarkko Maeaettae who was performing on a very low level the last two years. His summer shape was okay and we can believe that this upcoming winter will be a more successful one for him.
The younger athletes hope also for longer jumps. Andreas Alamommo showed good performance in the second part of the summer season. He was 27th at the Summer Grand Prix finals in Klingenthal. From time to time had also Eetu Nousiainen some good jumps. It wouldn’t be surprising if one of these two athletes would get a place on the Olympic team. They are still young and full of potential so they might be able to bring smile to faces of the Finnish fans at the WOG in four or eight years.
For the first time after lot of years, Finland can look forward to the winter. Their team is very young and the first effects of Andreas Mitter’s work are visible. It’s hard to believe that they are starting to jump on an acceptable level. However, at the moment, it doesn’t seem that their team will be as strong again as it once used to be.
They have to be patient and believe that the shape of Larinto is as good as people say, that Janne Ahonen will be the second Noriaki Kasai and that the young guys will amaze the rest of the world with their jumps. It’s going to be another hard season for Finland where they will be heroically fighting for World Cup points.