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“The challenge motivates me”
Finlands rising Nordic Combined star: Minja Korhonen (c) Nordic Focus/Volk

Finlands rising star Minja Korhonen joined this week’s Tuesday Talk to chat about her impressive Summer Grand Prix performance and upcoming first World Cup season.

The 15-year-old from Kuopio region, who reached the podium already six times in just 10 international competitions, talked about the start of her career and what challenge she particularly appreciates in Nordic Combined. 

Find all of Minja’s results here
 

Two podium positions, plus the 3rd place overall in the Summer Grand Prix 2022. How do you feel looking back at these strong results now?
Those were my first international competitions for adults! Summarized, it was a nice trip where I learned many new things, but it was also nice to compete with the other girls and get to know them better. 

Your first ever international event was the Youth Cup in Oberhof 2021, which you won right away. One year later, you’re top 3 in the Grand Prix. Did you expect to come so far in such a short amount of time? 
I didn’t expect it, but for me, Ski Jumping and Cross-Country skiing have always been my strength. That's why I dreamt that on the right day, when everything worked out, I would be able to challenge my more race-experienced Nordic Combined sisters – and it came true.  

Looking into the data bank, only 10 international events are registered there. Where did you collect experience competition-wise in the past? 
At the moment, I mainly train jumping and skiing, but also used to practice other sports. 
I have competed in many national competitions in Ski Jumping and skiing but also athletics and all those different competitions increased my skills and facilitated the participations in international competitions now.

Speaking of the past: When and why did you start Nordic Combined?
It all started when I was six years old. I was in preschool and saw a notification that invited students to try Ski Jumping, which made me really excited because I wanted to try new sports. 
It was so much fun that Ski Jumping became a new hobby for me, before, a few years later, I started skiing and finally Nordic Combined.

As we all witnessed: Your Ski Jumping and Cross-Country performance are already on a very high level. Is there still something you want to work on until the start of the winter? 
Both sports performances were good and successful during the summer competitions, but still not the best I could have done, in my opinion. Therefore, I am constantly working on getting better and my jumping has already improved since the summer. My next goal is the skiing speed, which will hopefully also improve in future.

The highlight of the upcoming season is the FIS Nordic World Ski Championship in Planica (SLO), which will also be your first World Championships ever. Do you feel excited about the big stage you will get to perform on? 
For sure, the World Championships in Planica will be great! I'm looking forward to the competitions and fans and will hopefully be in my best jumping and skiing condition by then.

Final question: What’s your favorite thing about being a Nordic Combined athlete?
As a Nordic Combined athlete, I get to train and compete in two very different sports. 
To be successful you need speed, strength and endurance within a single event – which can be very challenging. But Ski Jumping and Cross-Country skiing are both really big sports internationally and with Nordic Combined I get to do both. This challenge motivates me and I am a proud Nordic Combined athlete!

 
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