Team Preview: Finland

Note: Last minute changes are always possible

Finland is a European nation located within Scandinavia. The nation made its Summer Olympic debut in 1908 had has participated in every Olympic games since, including hosting the 1952 Summer Games. In the early games Finland was considered to be a top 10 nation at the Summer Olympics, though they have fallen down in rankings with the last time they won more than 10 medals being in 1984. In total Finland has won 302 medals at the Summer Olympics with the majority being won in athletics and wrestling. While the nation isn’t expected to return to its historic heights it is expected to win a handful of medals.

The athletics team will be led by two Olympic medalists in the men’s javelin. 2008 bronze medalist Tero Pitkamaki and 2012 bronze medalist Antii Ruuskanen will be looking to add an additional medal to their collection. Pitkamaki will be competing in his fourth Olympics and has recently won a bronze medal at the 2015 World Championship. For Ruuskanen this will be his second Olympics and at the 2015 World Championship he placed in fifth. Joining them in the men’s javelin is 2012 Olympian Ari Mannio. Finland will be sending a full men’s 50km race walk team with Aleksi Ojala, Veli-Matti Partanen and Jarkko Kinnunen whom will be making his third Olympic appearance. Also returning to the Olympics are Sandra Eriksson (women’s 3000m steeplechase), Minna Nikkanen (women’s pole vault), David Soderberg (men’s hammer) and Sanni Utriainen (women’s javelin). The rest of the team is made up of Anne-Mari Hyrylainen (women’s marathon), Kristiina Makela (women’s triple jump), Oskari Moro (men’s 400m hurdles), Wilma Murto (women’s pole vault), Nooralotta Neziri (women’s 100m hurdles) and Linda Sandblom (women’s high jump).

Finland will be sending a large sailing team with 8 athletes competing in six boats. Leading the group is 2012 Olympic silver medalist Tuuli Petaja-Siren whom will compete in her third Olympics in the women’s RS:X. Finland’s best chance at winning a medal in sailing will likely come from Tuula Tenkanen whom will compete in the women’s laser radial. A 2008 Olympian she has finished in fourth at the 2014 and 2015 World Championship. In the men’s 470 the Lindgren brothers will once again represent Finland. For Niklas this will be his third Olympics while for Joonas this will be his second. The two will be hopeful to better their performance at the 2015 World Championship where they finished in fifth. Also competing are Tapio Nirkko whom will compete in his third Olympics in the men’s finn, Kaarle Tapper whom will compete in the men’s laser and Camilla Cedercreutz and Noora Ruskola whom will compete together in the women’s 49erFX.

One of Finland’s better chances at winning a medal will come in wrestling through Petra Olli whom will compete in the women’s -58kg freestyle. She formally competed at the 2010 Youth Olympics, winning the bronze medal, but has more recently won silver at the 2015 World Championship and gold at the 2016 European Championship, though that was in the -60kg event. Joining her is 2012 Olympian Rami Hietaniemi whom will compete in the men’s -84kg Greco-Roman where he lost in the bronze medal match at the 2015 World Championship while Tero Valimaki will compete in the men’s -66kg Greco-Roman.

The Finnish swimming team will be made up of athletes mostly returning to their second Olympics; this include; Matias Koski (men’s 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle), Jenna Laukkanen (women’s 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke), Ari-Pekka Liukkonen (men’s 50m freestyle) and Matti Mattsson (men’s 200m breaststroke). Making their Olympic debut are Mimosa Jallow (women’s 100m backstroke) and Tanja Kylliainen (women’s 200m IM). Finland will also send a women’s 4x100m medley relay which will consist of Jallow, Laukkanen, Emilia Pikkarainen and Hanna-Maria Seppala. As a team they won the bronze medal at the 2016 European Championship. For Pikkarainen, this will be her third Olympics while for Seppala, she will compete in an impressive fifth Olympics.

In shooting Finland will be represented by 2008 Olympic gold medalist Satu Makela-Nummela whom will compete in her third Olympics in the women’s trap. While she is not expected to medal she has placed good results of the past year including several top 10 finishes at the World Cup events and a 5th place finish at the 2015 European Games. Joining her is Vesa Tornroos whom will compete in the men’s trap.

Finland will be making its return in boxing where it competed in 2000. They will be represented by Mira Potkonen in the women’s lightweight (-60kg). Also returning since 2000 is equestrian eventing where Elmo Jankari will compete in the individual event on his horse Duchess Desiree.

Returning for their second Olympics is Suvi Mikkonen In taekwondo, whom will compete in the women’s -57kg category.

In archery Finland will be represented by two athletes; Samuli Piippo in the men’s recurve and Taru Kuoppa in the women’s recurve. While in artistic gymnastics Finland will be represented by Oskar Kirmes and in rhythmic gymnastics Finland will compete in the individual event via Ekaterina Volkova.

With golf returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 Finland will send a team of four athletes. The team will be led by Mikko Ilonen, winner of five European Tour titles. Joining him in the men’s individual will be Roppe Kakko whom won his first European Tour title in 2015. The women’s individual will have Ursula Wikstrom and Noora Tamminen.

Finland will also compete in badminton (Nanna Vainio, women’s singles), cycling (Lotta Lepisto, women’s road race), judo (Juho Reinvall, men’s -60kg), table tennis (Benedek Olah, men’s singles) and weightlifting (Miiko Tokola, men’s -85kg and Anni Vuohijoki, women’s -63kg).

Overall Finland will send 54 athletes to compete in 16 sports. This marks a slight decrease of the number of athletes relative to 2012 (56 athletes).

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