Mari Laukkanen: The Interview!

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Mari Laukkanen was born on the 9th of November 1987 in Eno, Finland. She got her first podium at home in Kontiolahti in 2013-14 and she has also finished in the TOP 10 another 4 times. She has competed in 2 Winter Olympic Games and 7 World Championships. After an illness towards the end of last season she is looking forward to competing again starting in Oestersund.

You can like Mari’s Facebook page: Mari Laukkanen offical
Follow her on Twitter: @mari_laukkanen
She has a website (in Finnish): http://www.marilaukkanen.fi/etusivu/

Why did you want to become a biathlete?

I started competing in cross-country skiing when I was nine years old. Afterwards I had a chance to try shooting and I loved that from the first time. I also always liked more skating than classic, the fastest way of skiing 🙂

Your personal best race was a 3rd place in Kontiolahti in 2013/14. What was it like to get on the podium at a home race?

That was great. Maybe the greatest place to make your first podium. Also the
price giving ceremony in the evening in the city was amazing !!

The World Championships didn’t go as well as you probably hoped. Was there a lot of pressure on you racing at home and have you learned anything that could help you for this year’s Championships in Oslo?

I was getting sick during the Oslo World Cup, so just before the World Championships. Afterwards we found out that this was a serious virus which I had then and even though I felt healthy after 10 days resting, my body was still fighting against it and that´s why my body got overloaded and got other problems. It was big disappointment for me that I couldn’t race at my best level there.

Last season you equaled your best finish in the Total Score of 36th. What are your goals for this season?

Definitely Top 25. I would like to run all the Mass Starts next winter.

What training have you done so far this summer and what’s the plan until the start of the season?

Now it is already October so most of the training has been done. Anyway one more important period is coming when we change to snow training. I had some problems especially at the beginning of the summer because of the virus which I talked about before. I wasn’t sick but my body was stressed and was still over working because of the damage after my sickness.

You took part in the Single Mixed Relay in Nove Mesto and finished 12th with Ahti Toivanen. Do you like the new format? Do you think Finland will be able to do well in the event?

It was interesting. But it is so much about fast shooting that maybe this is not the best race for us. Ahti is a pretty fast shooter but this is a big challenge for me. But I like this short distance, that fits for me because I think I am pretty fast.

What are your strengths as a biathlete and what are your weaknesses? Do you have anything that you specifically want to improve before next season?

I am fast. That´s my biggest strength. I can also handle high intensity and high lactate (acid) very well. I have been working for years on my endurance and it is nice to see progress. I have a lot of things to do in shooting and I have big goals for this training season. We have made big steps but I still have some problems which I want to solve before winter.

Sportspeople are famous for being superstitious. Do you have any superstitions? Do you always put your right/left ski on first or wear the same underwear on race day?!

No. I don’t believe in luck in sport.

You are a teammate of Kaisa Makarainen. What have you learned from her and do you think she can win the Overall Title this season?

She is definitely the biggest favourite to win the Overall Title next season and it will be difficult for everybody to beat her. I have learned that every day matters. She asks a lot from herself and people around her.

What hobbies do you have when you aren’t training for biathlon?

I don’t have time for hobbies. But every now and then I try to find time for something which helps me to turn my brain away from biathlon. I have seen that this is important for me.

Does your rifle have a name?

No.

Describe yourself in three words.

Empathetic, bubbly, passionate.

Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlon track: All of them
Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc): Sprint
Favourite/best race of your career so far? Kontiolahti sprint 2014 (3rd place) or Ruhpolding sprint 2015 (5th place)
Favourite food: good steak.
Favourite singer/band:too many!
Favourite sports team: Finnish ice hockey team!
Favourite TV show: maybe one of my favorites right now! Siskonpeti (YLE, Finland)

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