Hannu Manninen has experience with standing on the very top of podiums. With 48 World Cup victories, he’s still the most successful Nordic Combined athlete of all times. On the past weekend at the traditional Waskiyhdistetty in Lieksa, the veteran claimed the top spot back from his younger teammates.
Two jumps of 59.5 metres on Lieksa’s HS 55 hill had Leevi Mutru in the lead after the jumping part of the event but Manninen was not to be shaken lightly. 59.5 and 59 metres had the veteran starting just eight seconds behind Mutru. Ilkka Herola was third with a delay of 18 seconds at the start.
The race in the packed streets of Lieksa had a dramatic sprint finish that had the legend triumph. It was only by one second that Manninen beat team leader Ilkka Herola in a final sprint, closely followed by Leevi Mutru, who finished two seconds after Manninen.
Eero Hirvonen had to be satisfied with the fourth position as he crossed the finish line 38 seconds after Manninen. Matti Herola was fifth, Junior World Champion Arttu Mäkiaho claimed position five.