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Pekka Koskela, new superstar of Finnish winter sports?

December 14, 2006
Meet one of the biggest Finnish medal contenders for Vancouver 2010… IMHO
 
Pekka Koskela is a 24 year-old originally from Seinäjoki in central Finland and is a student at the Helsinki University of Technology in Otaniemi in Espoo.
 
Koskela is virtually unknown in Finland because the sport of speed skating hasn’t registered in the minds of Finns for many years. Former Finnish Olympian and current Finnish team head coach Janne Hänninen was no slouch, as he produced consistent top 10 results over the twilight years of his career, but he did not accomplish what Koskela has accomplished in just a few short years.
 
In an interview I conducted for the Finnish-Canadian Society’s newsletter in December 2002, Hänninen’s former coach Jack Walters named Pekka Koskela as one to watch after he set a world junior record in the 500m in Salt Lake City in 2001.
 
In the young 2006-2007 World Cup season, Koskela has already been on the podium five times. He’s a sprinter and thus far has won two gold in the 500m (a silver and two bronze too) and one in the 1000m. Consider the fact that he had major knee surgery last summer and this is no mean feat he has accomplished. Though according to a HS International interview, Koskela himself doesn’t consider this a miracle.
 
It is generally accepted that the step from the junior to senior ranks in speed skating is a big one and after toiling in the senior ranks for the past few years, Koskela is starting to find his form. What many people do not realize is that it is very tough to be at the top in the world of speed skating. I predict that this is only the beginning of Koskela’s campaign towards Vancouver 2010 and by the time the Olympics roll around he will be a serious medal threat, if not at the top by that time.
 
See more on Koskela’s home page at http://www.pekkakoskela.net
 
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