The World Championship contract of Finnish skiing star Iivo Niskanen in Oberstdorf ended on Sunday with a bitter disappointment.
Fighting with weak skis, the Olympic champion bowed to the top of the men’s 50km joint start in the final round, crossing the finish line in seventh.
Later, the ranking rose by a notch when Johannes Hösflot Kläbo, who was the first to finish, was rejected.
Niskanen was in a fiery mood throughout the race.
Before changing skis, he demanded clearer instructions from the piste along the roar of the force word: "Now say v *** u number, number one or number two?"
The roar of Niskanen reminded Jari Sarasvuo, a businessman known as an avid bench athlete, of another legendary Finnish exclamation heard on the streets of Oberstdorf decades ago.
"Conifers devil!", Demanded Marjo Matikainen in 1987 on his way to becoming a five-kilometer world champion.
- You can't do that without passion.
I don't think it's terribly dangerous that if you do a little, it spills, Sarasvuo tells Ilta-Sanomat.
- I'm pretty close testified, when a man does something with all that is therein.
Iivo hasn't even behaved particularly badly, even though one v-word slipped into communication.
Jari Sarasvuo is married to six-time world skiing champion Virpi Sarasvuo.
Niskanen’s problems with the skis became apparent quickly after the ski change.
The adhesive base of the replacement pair got frozen, and the medal seams practically crashed into it.
Iivo Niskanen's latter pair of skis did not work as expected. Photo: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva
The Finn who did his best in the goal did not hide his disappointment.
He tossed the betrayed pair of skis furiously to the ground and steamed as the TV cameras watched, apparently sniffing out of the finish area.
A moment later, a slightly calmed but still extremely low-key man stepped in front of the media.
Sarasvuo understands Niskanen's great disappointment well.
- His character is great, even when there is no such reward.
I considered his performance glorious.
I can’t blame them for putting everything in the game and if there’s no reward, then I’m a little disappointed.
An athlete can be disappointed, and usually when he plays with everything he has, yes there are emotions involved, he reminds.
- If you did that job a little more officially, would it be better?
While Niskanen’s dream of a World Cup medal was not achieved this time around, the 50-kilometer race offered a sheer dose of excellent TV entertainment.
In addition to the dramatic events of the final, Niskanen was largely responsible for that entertainment.
- As a bench athlete, it is more interesting to watch such a strong figure than a loud person, Sarasvuo emphasizes.
Prior to Oberstdorf, Niskanen had won at least one medal from three previous championships: 15 kilometers of gold and a pair of sprint bronze from the Lahti World Championships 2017, 50 kilometers of gold from the Pyeongchang Olympics 2018 and 15 kilometers of bronze from the Seefeld World Championships 2019.
In addition to these, the Niskanen prize cabinet contains a pair of sprint Olympic gold from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.