Matti Heikkinen: I have again good feeling in training
Finnish Cross-Country skier Matti Heikkinen found some time in the middle of the training season to talk to FIS Cross-Country News about his training year.
Matti’s last winter was highlighted by the gold medal at the World Championships in Oslo.
FIS Cross-Country News: Matti, you in fact started with a different sport when you were young?
Matti Heikkinen: Yes, I played (Finnish) baseball until I was 14. But I was not really good at it so I quit.
FIS Cross-Country News: Why did you choose Cross-Country Skiing?
Matti Heikkinen: I was always attracted to an individual sport. I like the freedom, which you have. It goes hand in hand with the responsibility that you have for yourself. It is something totally different from team sports.
FIS Cross-Country News: What would you do if you were not a professional Cross-Country skier?
Matti Heikkinen: Well, I think I would not do any other sport on a professional level. I would be studying and then find a normal job.
FIS Cross-Country News: After your gold medal in Oslo you said you hoped it would change Finnish Cross-Country Skiing for better. Have you spotted any positive effects of your victory yet?
Matti Heikkinen: I really have. I noticed that some people have changed their attitude and some things related to our sport got better. I’m really happy about that.
FIS Cross-Country News: How has your training year been so far?
Matti Heikkinen: I struggled a lot at the beginning of the off-season but now I have the feeling again which you have to have in training and my preparation is in full swing.
FIS Cross-Country News: Where have you trained so far?
Matti Heikkinen: I have been training mostly in Jyväskylä. Our first joint training camp of the year took place in Sognefjellet and the second one in Vuokatti.
FIS Cross-Country News: Have you somehow changed your summer training?
Matti Heikkinen: This year, I have had some more hard training workouts than I had this time last season. It didn’t show yet at the Aateli Race where I took 9th. Running part was OK, but at this point it is important to focus on aerobic workouts, basic things. Toni Roponen is still my coach and he takes care of my training program. I’m going step by step.
FIS Cross-Country News: What are your training plans in the summer?
Matti Heikkinen: I’m going to carry out my own a training camp in Ramsau in July.
FIS Cross-Country News: How did you celebrate midsummer?
Matti Heikkinen: I did not take part in any big party. Midsummer celebration was calm for me.
FIS Cross-Country News: Besides training you also study. How is it going?
Matti Heikkinen: I make progress step by step. Cross-Country Skiing is my priority. Last year I didn’t take any courses, but I haven’t yet decided if I would do some studying this year.