Despite a relatively small population of just over 5.5 million people, there have been a huge number of sport stars who have emerged from Finland. From Sami Hyypiä to Kimi Räikkönen, this small European nation has provided a number of great athletes. All across the world, the stars of Finnish sport have made huge impacts in football, Formula 1 racing, basketball, ice hockey among many, many others. Finnish athletes have won a total of 302 medals at the Summer Olympic Games,and 162 medals at the Winter Games. We took a look at a few of Finland’s finest.
Liverpool legend Sami Hyypiä is one of the country’s most famous exports. After making his debut in 1989, the towering Porvoo centre-back found international fame when he joined the English giants in 1999. There, he would enjoy a decade of success, winning the Champions League, the UEFA Cup (now Europa League), multiple UEFA Super Cups, FA Cups, League Cups and Charity Shields. He was a ten-time Finnish footballer of the year, and was named Finnish Sports Personality of the Year in 2001 after guiding Liverpool to a treble. Sami has turned his hand to managing, and after spells in charge of Brighton and Bayer Leverkusen, is assistant manager at FC Haka.
Kimi Räikkönen - F1 Racing
Alfa Romeo driver Kimi-Matias Räikkönen has been nicknamed "The Iceman" and proudly races under the Finnish flag. Räikkönen famously won the 2007 Formula One World Championship driving for Scuderia Ferrar. He’s known for eclectic antics, his dry humour, cold personality and his notorious disinterest in speaking to the media. He left Ferrari in 2018 and joined Alfa Romeo so that he could be closer to his family, making his debut for his new team in 2019. He spent a brief stint at the start of the last decade out of F1, instead opting to take on NASCAR, but returned within a year to compete in his sport. He’s currently priced at 600/1 to win the F1 Drivers Championship for 2021 with Netbet Sport.
Olli Jokinen - Ice Hockey
Olli Veli Pekka Jokinen is a former professional ice hockey player, who made his NHL debut in 1997 when he was signed up by the Los Angeles Kings third overall in the NHL Entry Draft. He went on to play for the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs and St. Louis Blues. He is the record goalscorer for the Florida Panthers, who he spent seven seasons with between 2000 and 2008. He scored 321 goals during an 18-year-long NHL career, as well as playing in Europe and at international level.
Tanja Poutiainen - Alpine Ski Racing
Tanja Poutiainen is a World Cup alpine ski racer from Finland, who retired in March 2014 after a hugely successful 18-year career. Born in Rovaniemi, Lapland, Poutiainen started skiing when she was just three years of age, and went on to win dozens of medals at World, European and Olympic levels. She specialized in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom, and was the silver medalist in the women's giant slalom at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. When she retired at the end of the 2014 season, Poutiainen had 11 World Cup victories, 48 podiums, and three World Cup discipline titles.
Teemu Pukki - Football
Teemu Pukki is a professional footballer from Kotka in Finland. He currently plays up front for Championship club Norwich City, and has earned 88 caps for the Finland national team. Pukki was named player of the season in the EFL Championship for 2018-19, after winning the title with Norwich. He has played for a variety of huge clubs across Europe, such as Sevilla, Celtic, and Shalke, after beginning his career with KTP, where he made his debut in June 2005 at the age of 15 in a fifth round match of the Finnish Cup. He has won the Scottish Premiership, the English Championship, the Veikkausliiga and a number of individual honours, including the 2019 Finnish Sports Personality of the year.
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