Krista Lähteenmäki has been one of the most talented Finnish junior skiers for few years, and now the 19-year-old hopes to take further steps forward in her career. She completed her matriculation examination this spring in Sotkamo Sport School and is now pursuing her ski career with full focus and effort. Further studies can wait.
The skier from Ikaalinen (south of Finland, near Tampere) continues to live in Vuokatti. "I have already been at two major championships, so World Championships in Oslo is the definite goal for next season. I hope to compete there in more than one race. Another goal is to compete in World Cup on regular basis, not just occasionally", Lähteenmäki says. Her summer shape has been proven fine at least in the Aateli Race (a two-day summer event consisting of rollerskiing and running), where she lost only to Aino-Kaisa Saarinen and beat Riitta-Liisa Roponen in the final 1,5 km uphill in free technique roller-skiing. "That was a good sign overall, also that I did well in all the three races competed in two days. Now I just keep doing the basic training. I have gotten some good new things for power training, mostly coming from the national team's new assistant coach Niclas (Grön)", Lähteenmäki tells.
A year ago her summer was also going well, until she was hit by mycoplasma-bacteria in August. Recovering from that meant 11 weeks with no hard training, not at all as was planned for September, October and November.
"That was bad. But, after all, it turned out to be a pretty good season. After the struggle with mycoplasma, it was a huge surprise that I made the Olympic team. That along with the gold and other good results at the Junior World Championships made it a good season. Actually it couldn't have been much better", she says.
This week Lähteenmäki is one of the "coaches" for young skiers in Pirjo Muranen's and Sami Jauhojärvi's traditional junior ski camp held in Vuokatti July 25-29. The A-team gathers for next training camp in late August, heading to St. Moritz (SUI).
Contributed by Heidi Lehikoinen