Hannu Manninen to continue until PyeongChang Olympics
Nordic Combined athlete Hannu Manninen has decided to pursue a start at the Olympic Games in PyeongChang in Korea, as it has been announced on the website of the Finnish Ski Federation.
A year ago in spring Hannu Manninen took part in the Nordic Combined Finnish Championships in Taivalkoski, which marked Manninen's return to competing after six-year break with the goal to return to the top on an international level again. However, the final decision on the continuation of a career was born in autumn, about six months before the season's main event, the Lahti World Championships 2017.
Now, at the end of the 2016/17 season, it is a little over 300 days to the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Korea, and the situation is a different one: “The preparation time for the World Championships in Lahti was pretty short. In relation to this, the results were fruitful and I cannot be very disappointed by the outcomes, "says Manninen. The veteran had a 24th place in the Individual Gundersen event from the large hill and a 5th place from the Team Event to show for.
“Achieving a really good result in Lahti was close, which made me hungry for more. In particular, the team event podium was possible. So yes, the thought of next year's Olympic team race came to mind and it attracts me to have a look at that card, "continues Manninen.
Team head coach Petter Kukkonen was, of course, pleased with Hannu Manninen’s decision. “Hannu’s decision is awesome news for the discipline. He is an important part of the team for the Olympic Games: the younger athletes will have a team leader and an example to follow. I know Hannu will be significantly stronger in the upcoming the Olympic period than his previous level. This is one of the most important steps, which will enable us as a team to fight for a medal in Pyeongchang, "says Kukkonen.
Focus on Nordic Combined training for the summer
While the Finn has prioritised Nordic Combined training since the spring, also his other discipline, triathlon, will not be fully neglected this summer. Manninen’s return to the Nordic Combined sport was awarded with the “Comeback of the Year” at the Nordic Combined Awards in Schonach, which included a free start at one Ironman event in the summer of 2017 as a present.
“Triathlon has to take a bit of a back seat at the moment but it is my intention to attend one of the Ironman in Central Europe. I am also interested in different competitions at home, but I have not yet had time to check timetables."
Full time pilot Manninen is very familiar with schedules and time management since he decided to return to the sport in last autumn. "We thought about how the extension decision affects our everyday life at home and concluded that everything should be very similar to how we handled it since last autumn. So in the end, the decision was made”, Manninen concludes.