Elian Lehto has a wild fall: “Really, really big ones”

Alppitähti succeeds and the financial situation improves. The season absorbs more than 200,000 euros.

  • Pacemaker Elian Lehto made it to the World Cup finals.
  • Mies will continue training in a top environment with the Swiss national team.

In January, alpine skier Elian Lehto, 23, hit the snow sport bomb of the heart of the winter here in Finland. The native of Rovaniemi landed twice in 11th place in the legendary Kitzbühel downhill race.

Lehto’s condition did not stay in January, because last weekend he finished 18th in the super-g of the Kvitfjell World Cup.

Especially the success in Kitzbühel, the most popular race in the alpine skiing world, was also good financially.

It woke up the partners.

– If you think about where I was financially a year ago, the situation is much better now. But it’s no secret that these are big investments, really, really big. Thanks to everyone who is involved, says the athlete.

The man’s budget for the competition season is 200,000 euros.

Maki with me

The athletes of the Finnish alpine national team are allowed to sell two advertising spots of their competition outfit themselves and take the money from them. Other advertising spots are sold by the sports association Skisport Finland. HENRI KARKKÄINEN

– I have a seasonal cost of around 200,000 euros, if we talk about everything. That includes personal expenses, the coach’s salary and expenses, maintenance services and what I pay for training for the Swiss national team.

Lehto scrapes the budget together from different pieces.

– Sport Fund is my corporate partner, and then there are various sponsors who are with me on the journey. The union will get a good share, but the union will not pay all of this.

Among other things, the four-time rally world champion Tommi Mäkinen went to financially support the Finnish Comet at the beginning of the year.

– Above all, I am grateful for this situation and everyone who is involved.

Continue in Switzerland?

Skydiving is a wild activity. Here is Lehto’s style sample from the Wengen competition. PDO

A very important factor behind Lehto’s rise to the top is that he gets to train with Switzerland’s second World Cup team.

In this way, the Finn has some of the world’s best pacemakers as his everyday pacers and is surrounded by a large and professional team.

– I’ll be with them until the end of this season, that’s for sure. I will not comment on the future until things are resolved, Lehto states.

– Discussions about Elian’s continuation with Switzerland have already taken place. The matter is under investigation and in their internal discussion at the moment, CEO of Skisport Finland Janne Leskinen tells.

– Initially, the Swiss have reacted positively to Elian’s continuation. There don’t seem to be any major obstacles to it. There, they build their own program and the entirety of next season.

– They have two World Cup speed teams that do not have the same program. They are looking at how one Finn can fit into that group, Leskinen continues.

Training and maintenance

Janne Leskinen, CEO of Skisport Finland, is negotiating a training spot for Lehto with the Swiss national team for next season. TIMO KUNNARI

The package also includes Lehto’s coach Eero Blomqvist.

– Eero is a big part of this whole. He has been there as one of the coaches. The equipment maintenance side is also a factor here. It includes the Swiss and Finnish unions, Elian’s personal contract and Fischer’s factory.

– At least success doesn’t hurt this side, Leskinen states.

If it were to happen that the door to the Swiss team bus would no longer open next season, there are other options.

But not many.

– Germany has sometimes signaled that cooperation could work. It would be easy to enter into a discussion with Norway, but we have not negotiated there since it has not been necessary. In theory, Canada could also be an interesting option. It would bring advantages to practice in North America.

– But the discussion about the continuation with Switzerland is progressing in a good spirit, Leskinen emphasizes.

Finals ahead

23-year-old Elian Lehto is an important athlete for Skisport Finland financially. HENRI KARKKÄINEN

Lehto’s performances this season opened up a place for him in the World Cup final. The 25 best skiers in the diving cup can get there.

The finals will be held in Saalbach, Austria in the second half of March.

– I achieved my goal for the season when I reached the finals. As a meritocracy, it doesn’t mean too much, but the big deal is that our World Championships will be held in Saalbach a year from now. The final gives it a lot of extra miles. From a sporting point of view, it’s a really important thing, says Lehto.

Elian Lehto admires, among others, Roger Federer. Henri Kärkkäinen