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Niskanen about leaving the Finnish National Team

Iivo Niskanen opens up about being out of the Finnish national team: “I had no choice when I saw the plan for the start of the season.”

Photo: Thibaut/NordicFocus

Iivo Niskanen (FIN) during the 2023 World Championships in Planica (SLO).

Iivo Niskanen, the man who has been one of the top names in Finnish cross-country skiing for several years, is angry with the ski association and what he sees as hopeless decisions. That is why the 31-year-old chose to be outside the national team after the winter season. 

“Our association offers absolutely nothing anymore,” says Iivo Niskanen to the Finnish news channel Yle

Simple choice

Niskanen says many were surprised when he chose to prepare outside the Finnish national team. He feels that he has no other choice. 

“When the association presented the plan for the run-up to next season, it was simple. I considered a compromise for a short time, but I quickly realized that I had to do what was right for me,” Niskanen says and adds: 

“It was a great surprise that our association has such major financial problems. But I can’t manage with just one high-altitude training camp during the seven-month run-up,” says Niskanen. 

Demanding situation

Niskanen explains that being outside the national team means that he loses all support from the association and that it costs a lot on several levels. 

“Private preparation will require an enormous personal and financial investment, but I had to do it to continue asserting myself,” says Niskanen. 

He goes on to say that he is not the only one frustrated by the situation. 

“I know that my national team colleagues, like me, are unsatisfied with the situation and the conflicts with the ski association. For my part, I am lucky to have the opportunity to prepare on my own,” he says. 

Does not rule out a return

At the same time, Niskanen keeps the door open for a return to the national team. 

“I want to return to the national team if they want to bring back altitude training and gatherings abroad,” says the Olympic and World Championships gold medalist.

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