The Finnish skiing legend is watching the Salpausselkä Games at home and has arranged other programs for the weekend.
Salpauselka will be skiing this weekend in the spirit of the World Cup. One of the main events of the Finns’ season gathers people at the Lahti ski stand, but one regular visitor will not be seen there this time.
Juha Mieto is watching Salppurin races on TV. It may be a little surprising, because Mieto is a familiar figure at the home competitions and this year the competition event is celebrating its centenary. Usually, Finnish skiing legends receive invitations to such events, but no one was in contact with Mieto.
Mieto answers the phone after Friday’s sprint races and says that he is not upset by the race organizers’ decision.
– I am by no means disappointed. There had been some kind of knock on the part of the organizer.
Ilta-Sanomat first reported on the exhaustion of Miedo’s invitation, which in the news CEO of the Salpausselkä Games Tomi-Pekka Kolu regrets the treatment Miedo received.
Mieto says that Kolu had called him and asked him to go to the games.
– Yes, he was sorry. At the same time, I was invited to come there coldly, contact the gate and things would be taken care of, says Mieto.
Despite the invitation, the former skier does not leave Kurika for Lahti. A program related to the elections has been arranged for Saturday. The skiing legend himself is not a candidate.
Mieto, who enjoyed himself numerous times as a competitor and guest on Salpauselka, still regrets if the centenary event does not remember former skiers.
– I just think when this has been skied for so long and there are still many of us in the books of the living. We have been there many times for many purposes, so it would be nice to also go to see the games and meet others at the same time.
Even young people recognize it
Mieto remembers that the Salpausselkä competitions have always offered warm encounters with other skiing people. He is still a popular character, whom young people also come to say hello to and ask for news.
– For some reason, even young people know me surprisingly well. I have an unusual size and appearance, so young people recognize me. The parents have said that it’s going to be a mess now.
There is a lot of history associated with the Salpausselkä ski competitions. Mieto enjoys home games even now, but before even more so. He remembers the crowds of the wildest years of the competition, the likes of which will never be reached again.
– I want to emphasize that the audience numbers in the 1960s were enormous. There were more than a hundred thousand people and the tracks were full. Nowadays, television and other offerings cut some off.
Are you celebrating on Sunday?
Finnish skiers did not reach the podium yet on Friday. A tight battle was seen in the free pair sprint, when Jasmin Kähärä mixed Jasmi Joensuu were fourth. On Saturday we will ski traditional sprints and on Sunday traditional 20 kilometers.
Expectations are linked to 20 kilometer races in particular. Iivo Niskanen mixed Kerttu Niskanen fighting for access to the top three. It would be especially important for Kerttu Niskanen, as she can secure the victory in the standard distance World Cup this weekend as the first Finnish woman since 2008, when Virpi Sarasvuo (b. Fibrous) was number one.
Mieto understands that illness has affected the Finns’ season, but you can’t hide behind it completely. There has often been a lull behind the necks, and we got a reminder of that again on Friday, when in the men’s pair sprint Joni Mäki and Lauri Vuorinen were ninth.
– Fortunately, the men’s relay won silver at the World Championships. But otherwise I can say that you have to go in front of a big mirror and see what the issue is. I answer that I haven’t trained properly.