Preview: Finland aims for better at Beijing Winter Olympics than PyeongChang

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 25, 2022
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HELSINKI, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Winter sports powerhouse Finland will dispatch a delegation of 95 athletes to the Beijing Winter Olympics, aiming to achieve better results than four years ago.

The Finnish team has athletes from nine disciplines, namely alpine skiing, biathlon, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, snowboard, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, figure skating and Nordic combined. The team has 51 male and 44 female athletes.

Ice hockey is Finland's "national sport." The Finnish men's national team "Lions" has won silver and bronze medals so far in the Winter Olympics, has high hopes for a medal at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.

The Finnish Olympic hockey team features young players who have achieved excellent results in the past several seasons and are called an "Olympic Dream Team" by the Finnish media. The Finnish daily Iltalehti reported that the young "Lions" are at their peak and will dominate the field during the games.

The women's ice hockey team, which won the bronze medal in the last Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, is also a medal hopeful in Beijing.

Coach Juuso Toivola said that the women's side has improved on speed in recent years and become a stronger competitor compared with powerhouses Canada and the United States.

Head coach Pasi Mustinen believed that the team "definitely has the potential to win medals," as some experienced players have been included.

Biathlon is also a strong sport of Finland, which has had several medalists in international competitions. Tero Seppala, 26, is one of the best players on the Finnish biathlon team, having recently achieved his career-best result at the biathlon World Cup race in Ruhpolding, Germany.

Toni Roponen, former head coach of the Finnish cross-country skiing team and now a sports commentator of the Finnish national broadcaster Yle, believes that Seppala's current condition is gratifying for him to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics. Seppala's shooting and skiing speed has risen to a new level, and he is also very adaptable to the high-altitude ski slopes in the competition zone of Zhangjiakou in China.

Another noteworthy field is cross-country skiing. According to Virpi Sarasvuo, a six-time cross-country world champion and now a sports commentator, Finnish men's and women's cross-country skiing teams are likely to win gold medals at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Iivo Niskanen, a two-time cross-country Olympic champion, is a favorite to win the gold medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

As for the Finnish women's cross-country skiing team, the joining of Kerttu Niskanen, who is Iivo Niskanen's sister and a two-time Olympic silver medalist, has made the team even stronger.

Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis, the first Finnish pair in the Olympic ice dance event since 1994, also draw media attention.

"Our combined goal for the Beijing winter games and the summer games in Paris in 2024 is 10 medals," said Mika Lehtimaki, head of the Top Sports Unit of the Finnish Olympic Committee.

The goal for Beijing is at least six medals, Lehtimaki said.

Finland won six medals at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in 2018.

"I am confident that this team will be able to achieve success in Beijing," Lehtimaki said. "Our Olympic success in the 21st century has been tilted towards winter sports, highlighting the importance of the Beijing Games in the equation." Enditem

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