Lahti has been hosting the FIS Nordic World Ski Championship competitions for the last 12 days with athletes from 61 countries participating. Last Wednesday I got the chance to make one of my dreams come true when I went with my family to see the competitions. I have seen lots of world cup competitions in Nordic winter sports before but never world championships, not in any sports for that matter. And now when organized so close, only few hours drive, I just had to go. We had the chance to go there only for one day but I think we chose the best possible day, mostly because one of the gold medals of the day came to Finland. Children also had their skiing holiday from school this week so it was possible for my son to go, too. He was happy to go even though he was really sorry that his favorite athlete, Petter Northug didn’t ski that day. My son is not as big sports fan as I am when it comes to winter sports but it was great to realize how much he actually knew about the athletes and the sports.
The competitions during that day were Nordic Combined individual race from the big ski jumping hill (HS130), men’s 15 km cross-country race in classic style and ski jump elimination contest on the big hill. We reached Lahti really early so we were able to get our car parked nearby. The Lahti skiing stadium is right next to the city center so it complicates the parking. The weather was warm, couple of plus degrees, so we didn’t mind waiting. If you ever think that watching the competitions is just way easier from TV, I recommend that you go and see a sports event like that once because the atmosphere is something that you can’t get from TV. Thousands of people cheering for there favorites, the noise is amazing.
They say that Finnish people are quiet and calm, but when the victory at men’s 15km race was coming to Finland by Iivo Niskanen the noise proved that notion wrong. The Nordic combined was lot like expected; Johannes Rydzek, Germany, took the gold metal from the race, as he did from all the four competitions they had in Nordic combined. Even thought the German team has dominated the competitions this season it is still one of my favorite sports to follow because of the versatility that the combination of two sports, ski jumping and skiing, give to it.
In the evening we still stayed to follow the elimination contest for the ski jumping from which the 50 best ski jumpers get selected for the next day’s competition. It started raining during the contest and when we reach our car we were soaking wet. But I’m glad we stayed anyway since the Finnish jumpers gave some hope for better future now when Finnish ski jumping has really not been doing well. Finnish Antti Aalto won the competition and others on the team did very well too. The competition in the following day wasn’t so good anymore but hopefully our team is slowly getting better again. All things considered it was a really good trip to Lahti and we got some great memories for me and my family. M.