Nickname: Makkara Date of birth: 09th November 1993 Residence: Kuopio Club: Puijon Hiihtoseura Hobbies: watching TV series, playing drums Motto: –
Matti, thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Before we talk about the last winter, let us take a step back in the past. When did you start in NC and what was the reason for it?
I started with NC again in spring 2013. Before that, I have been competing and training NC only at a young age, from 8-14 years old. After that I was only training SJ. The reason for this change was my body cause it's too big for ski jumping, but it works better with NC and CC training.
As you are the oldest of three brothers, were your activities an inspiration for Ilkka and Veikko?
Yes, I'm the oldest one. I think I was doing every training with Ilkka when we were young. So I think it's not only my inspiration, we both have always been interested in ski jumping and sports. And our youngest brother is now only 14 years old, so he wasn't with us at a young age. And maybe that's why he plays golf now... [laughs]
You told me that you moved to SJ when you were 14 years old and then back to NC with 19. How did this two-time changing of disciplines come about?
When I ended NC and moved to SJ, I was bad at CC skiing and that was the reason to start training only SJ. But then I grew up and realized that my brother is doing well with NC. I started to think that maybe my body is working better in NC, too. Then I started to run and train CC and noticed that I can reach better results in NC than in SJ.
With having made this experience, please tell me your opinion on junior work: when should a differentiation between SJ and NC be made and which facts have to be drawn into consideration?
I think young guys are making this decision too early. Of course the athletes' motivation is the main point in this decision. But I think it's better to choose the discipline in which the athletes' best talents can be shown.
Now let's talk about the last year. You had your first starts on World Cup level at the 2014 SGP and became the Finnish summer champion. What do you think about those competitions and what did gaining your first WC point feel like?
I think it's not a World Cup point... But the training season was good last summer and competitions were going better than the year before (2013). So the summer went well and SGP was okay. But after that in autumn, I maybe trained too hard and that was the reason for my long illness in the winter.
The point allowed you to compete on this level also on snow and you did so from Ruka until Ramsau before you had to take a break due to the mentioned illness. What are your thoughts on this time?
That time from Ruka to Ramsau was a bad and hard time. I had a few flus and for example couldn't race in Lillehammer. So I think there were no positive things before Christmas last year.
So in the new year you returned to the COC with quite good results, even gaining your first international Top 10 position with a 9th rank in Klingenthal. Are you satisfied with the 2nd half of your season up to the Finnish winter championships?
Hmmm. I was still sick until the WC in Val di Fiemme and I'm not satisfied with that. But then, the next two months were quite okay. The COC was the right place for me then and I had some good races. That was the only time last season when I was (almost) satisfied with my performance. But after that, Lahti WC and Finnish Championships were not good again. And I know I'm thinking very negative about the last season, but I think there are reasons to do that.
Well, you had your deserved holidays after that and can now focus on the future. You've been named to the national team again, what are your goals for the upcoming season?
My goal for the next season is to be in good shape all the time. And I want to compete in WC and hopefully get some points there. Maybe the most important thing is the WC at Puijo [Kuopio] and I want to be there of course.
I guess we all are excited for that! But I think we have talked enough about your sports career now. Are you doing anything next to being an athlete, for example studying at university?
Yes, I have plans with university. I now have a place at the University of Eastern Finland, but it's physics and it's maybe not my place.
So last but not least, how do you like to spend your probably quite rare free time?
I'm spending time with my friends as much as possible. Sometimes, I'm only lying on the sofa, but I like trying to be social more [laughs]. And when I'm visiting my parents, I play drums.
Well, I can only wish you good luck for both your NC career and life besides the sport! Kiitos!