Krista Lahteenmaki: This season went way above my expectations

23 March 2011 11:55

Speaking about shooting stars of Cross-Country skiing Canada has Alex Harvey. Finland can boast of Krista Lahteenmaki.

Lahteenmaki grew up at a farm in Ikaalinen, and since very young age, she was keen to help her dad. “I would carry away stones from the fields in spring,” says Lahteenmaki. She has also been active in almost everything the small hometown had to offer, from playing piano to folk dance and orienteering. Orienteering is still close to her heart, as she plans again to race in annual Venlojen Viesti.

Lahteenmaki moved away from her hometown Ikaalinen at the age of 16 to Vuokatti Sports School, to become a skier and to be able to train in best conditions possible. In 2010 she graduated and decided to focus at leas one year purely on Cross-Country skiing. “I can say now, the decision was perfectly right,” confirmed Lahteenmaki.

The 21-year-old Lahteenamki had a successful season. She impressed with strong performance at the Tour de Ski where she scored second place in the 10 km Classic in Oberhof and in overall Tour de Standing she clinched outstanding 8th place. A few weeks later she had one shot at the U23 Championships in Otepää and triumphed in 10 km Free. With Aino Kaisa Saarinen she won silver medal in the Classical Team Sprint in Oslo and was member of the Finnish bronze relay at the World Championsips in Oslo.

”This season went a way above my expectations! Before the season, I was aiming at achieving top 20 results at World Cup. I finished 12th in the Overall World Cup standing, I was hoping to get some top 15 results in Oslo World Championships, but came home with 5th place in 10km Classic and two medals from team events. That was just great,” said Lahteenmaki to FIS Cross-Country news.

Lahteenmaki seems not to have any problems when changing from junior to senior class. “Usually it does take many years to improve from junior to a top class senior skier. For myself, everything went right straight from the beginning of the training season. I was able to take big steps forward on the path to become a good senior skier. That has made the transition easier for me,” she explained.

 After successful season Lahteenmaki looks to future in optimism. “The first goal is to have a good, solid training off-season, stay healthy and be able to do quality training sessions. Competitive goals are set to World Cup, as there are no major senior Championships. For sure, I would like to compete also again at U23 if I can combine that with World Cup. I am sure everyone dreams about winning an individual medal at major championships, that is also my dream. And of course, I would like it to be a golden one,” she said.

Lahteenmaki was this season strong both in classical and free technique races but she believes she has still potential for improvement. ““I still have a long way to go in improving my endurance. I also need to improve my tactical skills in sprints and mass start events but I know that comes also with experience,” she revealed.

With contributions by Heidi Lehikoinen