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).


Golf: Olympic Rankings Published

The International Golf Federation has published the Olympic Golf Rankings. Over the past two years athletes gained points from select events which form the rankings. For athletes ranked in the top 15 a maximum of four athletes can represent one nation. However, for athletes ranked outside of the top 15 the maximum for one nation becomes two. In total sixty athletes will take part in each event. The ranking period lasted from July 14th 2014 to July 10th 2016.

While golf makes its return to the Olympics since 1904 it has been a bit of a bumpy ride for the men’s event. There have been multiple withdrawals, including the four highest ranked athletes in the rankings. Many of these golfers cited fear towards the Zika virus as the reason for their withdrawal. Overall only the United States will send the maximum of four athletes while other nations will send one or two athletes.

The women however have had much fewer withdrawals with everyone eligible in the top 15 so far committing to the games. South Korea will be the only nation sending four athletes while the United States will send three.

In total 40 nations will compete in golf’s return to the Olympics. Athletes and nations have one week to formally confirm their participation to the games so there may be a few more withdrawals before the games begin.


Quotas by Nations

  • United States – 7
  • South Korea – 6
  • Australia – 4
  • Canada – 4
  • China – 4
  • Chinese Taipei – 4
  • Denmark – 4
  • Finland – 4
  • France – 4
  • Germany – 4
  • Great Britain – 4
  • Italy – 4
  • Japan – 4
  • Malaysia – 4
  • New Zealand – 4
  • South Africa – 4
  • Spain – 4
  • Sweden – 4
  • Thailand – 4
  • Belgium – 3
  • India – 3
  • Ireland – 3
  • Netherlands – 3
  • Norway – 3
  • Argentina – 2
  • Austria – 2
  • Brazil – 2
  • Colombia – 2
  • Mexico – 2
  • Paraguay – 2
  • Philippines – 2
  • Switzerland – 2
  • Bangladesh – 1
  • Chile – 1
  • Czech Republic – 1
  • Hong Kong – 1
  • Israel – 1
  • Portugal – 1
  • Russia – 1
  • Venezuela – 1



Weightlifting: IWF Sanctions Nations, Announces Reallocation Quotas

The International Weightlifting Federation has sanctioned eight nations due to their athletes testing positive for performance enhancing drugs multiple times. Overall Azerbaijan lost one male and one female quotas, Belarus lost one male quota, Kazakhstan lost one male and one female quotas, Moldova lost two male quotas, North Korea lost one male and one female quotas, Romania lost one male quota, Russia lost one male and one female quotas and Uzbekistan lost one female quota.

Sanctions could be increased to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia for a total ban depending on the result of the investigation from the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Unsurprisingly this will cause a massive change in the World Championship Rankings for Olympic quotas. Sadly the IWF has not published the change in rankings due to wanting to finalize everything. They however, published the reallocation of those quotas lost by the offending nations along with the six women’s quotas that were not allocated from the individual rankings.

The following nations were given a reallocation quota. For the men they are; Chile, Greece, Guatemala, Israel, Kenya, Nauru, Qatar and Sri Lanka. For the women they are; Argentina, Finland, Iraq, Latvia, Mauritius, Morocco, Peru, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.


Net Quotas by Nations

  • Argentina – 1
  • Chile – 1
  • Finland – 1
  • Greece – 1
  • Guatemala – 1
  • Iraq – 1
  • Israel – 1
  • Kenya – 1
  • Latvia – 1
  • Mauritius – 1
  • Morocco – 1
  • Nauru – 1
  • Peru – 1
  • Qatar – 1
  • Solomon Islands – 1
  • Sri Lanka – 1
  • Sweden – 1
  • United Arab Emirates – 1
  • Uruguay – 1
  • Belarus – -1
  • Romania – -1
  • Uzbekistan – -1
  • Azerbaijan – -2
  • Kazakhstan – -2
  • Moldova – -2
  • North Korea – -2
  • Russia – -2



Archery: Final Olympic Qualifiers Adds 6 Teams and 11 Individuals

The final Olympic quotas were decided at the 2016 Archery World Cup – Stage 3. A special Final Olympic Qualification Tournament was held during the World Cup event. The top three nations from the team event of the Olympic qualification tournament qualified to the Olympics. In the individual event, initially three spots were available to the highest ranked athletes with a maximum of one quota per nation per gender, but should a nation whom qualified in the team event, previously qualified an individual quota that quota will be reallocated to the next highest ranked eligible athlete at this individual event. The Archery World Cup – Stage 3 was held in Antalya, Turkey from June 12th to June 19th 2016.

In the women’s team recurve Germany was the top nation in the ranking round, finishing with a score of 1991. However, they suffered an early upset to Estonia in the first round where Estonia won in an upset. Estonia would continue its unlikely run by defeating Great Britain 6-0 in the quarter-final. In the semi-final they were stopped by fifth seed Ukraine whom won the match 5-3. The other half of the bracket was relatively tame as both the second and third seed Italy and Chinese Taipei respectively faced off in the semi-final. The match went to a tie-breaker where Italy advanced to the final. Ukraine would go on to win the event with a 5-1 win over Italy. For third place and the final Olympic quota Chinese Taipei easily dispatched Estonia to win the match 6-0. Since Chinese Taipei, Italy and the Ukraine all qualified athletes previously the total amount of quotas for the women’s individual qualifiers will be six.

The men’s team recurve saw many upsets. After winning the top seed in the ranking round with a score of 2008 India quickly felt the pressure as the required a tie-breaker to defeat Turkey and then were eliminated in the quarter-final after losing a tie-breaker to Malaysia. Second seed Mexico lost 6-0 in the first round to Canada while fourth seed Russia lost to 12th seed Indonesia 5-3 in the quarter-final. In total the semi-finals consisted of 8th seed Malaysia, 12th seed Indonesia, 3rd seed Germany and 10th seed France. Indonesia booked their spot to the Olympics with a 6-0 victory over Malaysia while France qualified by defeating Germany 5-1. Indonesia would go on to win the event 6-0. The final Olympic quota was decided in the third place match where Malaysia defeated Germany 6-2. Since Indonesia and Malaysia qualified athletes previously the total amount of quotas for the men’s individual qualifiers will be five.

While there were relatively few upsets in the women’s individual recurve none of the top four seeds reached the semi-final though three of them reached the quarter-final. The first semi-final was between Moldova’s Alexandra Mirca and Great Britain’s Naomi Folkard. Folkard won the match 7-3. The other semi-final match was between Estonia’s Laura Nurmsalu and Sweden’s Christine Bjerendal. Nurmsalu won the match 6-4. All four nations qualified a quota to the Olympics. The event was won by Nurmsalu whom defeated Folkard 6-0. The other two Olympic quotas went to Finland (Taru Kuoppa) and Spain (Adriana Martin).

One of the largest upsets in the entire qualifier came in the men’s individual recurve in the round of 32 where 80th seed Boris Balaz of Slovakia defeated top seed Bair Tsybekdorzhiev of Russia in a 6-4 match. Balaz was unable to reach the semi-final as he lost to Thailand’s Witthaya Thamwong 6-2 in the quarter-finals, however, it would be enough to grab one of the Olympics quotas. The final was between two Belarussians where Anton Prilepov and Pavel Dalidovich faced off against each other. Prilepov won the match 6-0. Since a nation can only qualify one athlete quota the five quotas went to Belarus (Anton Prilepov), Thailand (Witthaya Thamwong), Belgium (Robin Ramaekers), Norway (Baard Nesteng) and Slovakia (Boris Balaz).

This was the final opportunity for nations to qualify to the Olympics. All that is left is for the tripartite quotas to be announced and for nations to officially confirm their quotas.


Athletes by Nations

  • Chinese Taipei – 3
  • France – 3
  • Indonesia – 3
  • Italy – 3
  • Malaysia – 3
  • Ukraine – 3
  • Belarus – 1
  • Belgium – 1
  • Estonia – 1
  • Finland – 1
  • Great Britain – 1
  • Moldova – 1
  • Norway – 1
  • Slovakia – 1
  • Spain – 1
  • Sweden – 1
  • Thailand – 1



Judo: Olympic Rankings Published 113 Nations Qualify

113 nations qualified through the Judo Olympic Rankings. Athletes earned points through various world and continental events over a two year period. There were two methods of qualifying. First the top 22 men and top 14 women qualify with a maximum of one NOC per weight class. Second are the continental qualifiers. The highest ranked, not yet qualified athletes across all events can qualify. Each continent has a set amount of quotas; Africa 24 (14 men, 10 women), Europe 25 (14 men, 11 women), Asia 20 (12 men, 8 women), Oceania 10 (7 men, 3 women), and Pan America 21 (13 men, 8 women). A nation can only earn one spot across all events through this and a single continent can qualify a maximum of two athletes in a single event. The qualification period lasted from May 30th 2014 to May 29th 2016.

In total 113 nations have qualified with France and Japan joining hosts Brazil as being the only nation to have qualified a full team of men and women. Also qualifying a full men’s team are Georgia, Germany, Mongolia, Russia, South Korea and Uzbekistan. Overall 53 nations only qualified through the continental rankings while 14 nations did not receive a continental quota. Oceania did not allocate all 10 of its continental quotas thus the unused quota was reallocated to the athlete with the most points and is not yet qualified among all events, specifically Uzbekistan’s Soyib Kurbonov in the men’s -100kg.

The quotas are tied to the athletes by name with the exception of where multiple athletes from the same nation finished in the top 22 for men and top 14 for women where the nation can choose from among them. All that is left to determine in judo is the tripartite quotas.


Quotas by Nations

  • France – 14
  • Japan – 14
  • Germany – 13
  • Mongolia – 13
  • South Korea – 12
  • Netherlands – 11
  • Russia – 11
  • Cuba – 9
  • Canada – 8
  • China – 8
  • Georgia – 8
  • Hungary – 8
  • Uzbekistan – 8
  • Australia – 7
  • Great Britain – 7
  • Israel – 7
  • Ukraine – 7
  • Azerbaijan – 6
  • Portugal – 6
  • United States – 6
  • Algeria – 5
  • Austria – 5
  • Belgium – 5
  • Egypt – 5
  • Italy – 5
  • Kazakhstan – 5
  • Slovenia – 5
  • Spain – 5
  • Poland – 4
  • Romania – 4
  • Sweden – 4
  • Tunisia – 4
  • Turkey – 4
  • Czech Republic – 3
  • Ecuador – 3
  • Iran – 3
  • Morocco – 3
  • North Korea – 3
  • Switzerland – 3
  • United Arab Emirates – 3
  • Argentina – 2
  • Belarus – 2
  • Bulgaria – 2
  • Chinese Taipei – 2
  • Colombia – 2
  • Gabon – 2
  • Greece – 2
  • Kosovo – 2
  • Kyrgyzstan – 2
  • Latvia – 2
  • Mexico – 2
  • Puerto Rico – 2
  • South Africa – 2
  • Tajikistan – 2
  • Turkmenistan – 2
  • American Samoa – 1
  • Angola – 1
  • Armenia – 1
  • Aruba – 1
  • Benin – 1
  • Bolivia – 1
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – 1
  • Burkina Faso – 1
  • Cameroon – 1
  • Chile – 1
  • Congo – 1
  • Costa Rica – 1
  • Côte d’Ivoire – 1
  • Croatia – 1
  • Dominican Republic – 1
  • El Salvador – 1
  • Estonia – 1
  • Fiji – 1
  • Finland – 1
  • Gambia – 1
  • Ghana – 1
  • Guatemala – 1
  • Guinea-Bissau – 1
  • Haiti – 1
  • Honduras – 1
  • Iceland – 1
  • India – 1
  • Iraq – 1
  • Jordan – 1
  • Kenya – 1
  • Lebanon – 1
  • Libya – 1
  • Lithuania – 1
  • Madagascar – 1
  • Mali – 1
  • Mauritius – 1
  • Moldova – 1
  • Mozambique – 1
  • Nauru – 1
  • New Zealand – 1
  • Niger – 1
  • Pakistan – 1
  • Palau – 1
  • Papua New Guinea – 1
  • Peru – 1
  • Qatar – 1
  • Samoa – 1
  • Saudi Arabia – 1
  • Senegal – 1
  • Serbia – 1
  • Seychelles – 1
  • Thailand – 1
  • Trinidad and Tobago – 1
  • Uruguay – 1
  • Vanuatu – 1
  • Venezuela – 1
  • Vietnam – 1
  • Zambia – 1



Cycling Road: Women’s Olympic Rankings Published

The Union Cycliste Internationale has published the Women’s Olympic Qualification Rankings which are used to allocate the majority of competitors in women’s road race and time trial. Athletes can earn points for their nation in UCI approved events. For the women’s road race initially the top 5 nations earn four athlete quotas, nations ranked 6th to 13th earn three quotas and nations ranked 14th to 22nd earn two quotas. However, if an athlete is ranked in the top 100 in the individual rankings and their nation did not qualify through the nation rankings they will earn their nation a maximum of one quota. The quota is subtracted from the lowest ranked nations (those nations can only lose a maximum of one quota). For the time trial the top 15 nations from the rankings will be allowed to send one athlete which has qualified from the road race. The Women’s Olympic Qualification Rankings are calculated from various events held from June 1st 2015 to May 31st 2016.

For the women’s road race the women’s individual rankings contained 12 nations where athletes finished in the top 100, but their nation did not finished in the top 22 in the nation rankings. They are Chinese Taipei (Huang Ting Ying), Norway (Emile Moberg), Brazil (Flavia Oliveira), Azerbaijan (Olena Pavlukhina), Thailand (Jutatip Maneephan), Austria (Martina Ritter), Slovenia (Polana Batagelj), Lithuania (Daiva Tuslaite), Cyprus (Antri Christoforou), Israel (Shani Bloch), Japan (Mayuko Hagiwara) and Chile (Paola Munoz). This has caused nations ranked from 11 to 22 to lose one quota. Netherlands, United States, Italy, Australia and Germany qualified four athlete quotas. Poland, Sweden, Great Britain, Canada and Belgium qualified three athlete quotas. France, South Africa and Luxembourg qualified two athlete quotas. Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Finland, Cuba, New Zealand, Mexico, Switzerland and Spain qualified one athlete quota. Since Cuba qualified through the nation rankings its continental qualifier quota was reallocated to the next best ranked eligible nation from the Pan American qualifier, specifically Venezuela. Also since Brazil qualified one quota through the rankings one of their host quota will be reallocated to the highest ranked nation not yet qualified, Colombia.

The nations which qualified through the women’s time trial are as follows; Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine and the United States. As a reminder these nations do not gain an athlete quota, they must use athletes which were qualified from the road race. Due to this rule both the Czech Republic and Russia which qualified quotas from the 2015 World Championship do not have enough athletes to fill that spot. The quotas have now been reallocated to the next highest eligible ranked nation from the event, specifically Japan and Sweden.

This was the final opportunity for nations to qualify to the Olympics in all disciplines of cycling. All that is left is for nations to confirm the quotas in which they were given.


Athletes by Nations

  • Australia – 4
  • Germany – 4
  • Italy – 4
  • Netherlands – 4
  • United States – 4
  • Belgium – 3
  • Canada – 3
  • Great Britain – 3
  • Poland – 3
  • Sweden – 3
  • France – 2
  • Luxembourg – 2
  • South Africa – 2
  • Austria – 1
  • Azerbaijan – 1
  • Belarus – 1
  • Brazil – 1
  • Chile – 1
  • Chinese Taipei – 1
  • Colombia – 1
  • Cuba – 1
  • Cyprus – 1
  • Finland – 1
  • Israel – 1
  • Japan – 1
  • Lithuania – 1
  • Mexico – 1
  • New Zealand – 1
  • Norway – 1
  • Russia – 1
  • Slovenia – 1
  • Spain – 1
  • Switzerland – 1
  • Thailand – 1
  • Ukraine – 1



Archery: Turkey Tops European Qualification Tournament

Turkey won both of the Continental Qualification Tournaments held in conjunction with the 2016 European Archery Championship. The continental qualification tournament contained athletes which were eligible to qualify to the Olympics. In total three quotas were available for each gender with a maximum of one nation per each gender. The entirety of the European Archery Championship was held in Nottingham, Great Britain from May 23rd to May 29th 2016.

The women’s continental qualification tournament was won by top seed Yasemin Anagoz of Turkey. She easily dominated her opponents until the final where she required a tie-breaker to win against seventh seed Alexandra Longova of Slovakia. The third and final quota was won by 13th seed Olga Senyuk of Azerbaijan whom defeated the third seed Hanna Marusava of Belarus in the bronze medal match 6-2.

The men’s continental qualification tournament saw quite a few upset. In fact besides second seed Mete Gazoz of Turkey the highest seed to reach the semi-finals was 20th seed Samuli Piippo of Finland. Piippo defeated Serbia’s Luka Popovic 6-0 to reach the final while Gazoz defeated Great Britain’s Patrick Huston 6-2. Gazoz won the event in a tie-breaker while Huston won the bronze and final Olympic quota over Popovic in a score of 6-4.

Unqualified nations will have one more opportunity to reach the Olympics. The final qualification tournament will also be the final place where nations can qualify to the team event.


Quotas by Nations

  • Turkey – 2
  • Azerbaijan – 1
  • Finland – 1
  • Great Britain – 1
  • Slovakia – 1