The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Finnish Skiers of all time. This list of famous Finnish Skiers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Finnish Skiers.
With an HPI of 67.76, Matti Nykänen is the most famous Finnish Skier. His biography has been translated into 46 different languages on wikipedia.
Matti Ensio Nykänen (pronounced [ˈmɑtːi ˈnykænen] (listen); 17 July 1963 – 4 February 2019) was a Finnish ski jumper who competed from 1981 to 1991. Widely considered to be the greatest male ski jumper of all time, he won five Winter Olympic medals (four gold), nine World Championship medals (five gold), and 22 Finnish Championship medals (14 gold). Most notably, he won three gold medals at the 1988 Winter Olympics, becoming, along with Yvonne van Gennip of the Netherlands, the most medaled athlete that winter. Nykänen is the only ski jumper in history to have won all five of the sport's major events: a gold medal at the Winter Olympics (three times), the Ski Jumping World Championships (once), the Ski Flying World Championships (once), four World Cup overall titles, and the Four Hills Tournament (twice). His four World Cup titles is an all-time male record shared with Adam Małysz. Nykänen remains the only male five-time ski flying world record holder in history. From the 1990s onwards, Nykänen's status as a celebrity was mainly fueled by his personal relationships, his career as a pop singer, and various incidents often related to heavy use of alcohol and violent behaviour. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison following a stabbing incident in 2004, and again for 16 months following an aggravated assault on his wife in 2009.
With an HPI of 59.53, Antti Hyvärinen is the 2nd most famous Finnish Skier. His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
Antti Abram Hyvärinen (21 June 1932 – 13 January 2000) was a Finnish ski jumper and coach. He competed at the 1952 and 1956 Olympics in the normal hill event and finished in seventh and first place, respectively, becoming the first non-Norwegian ski jumper to win an Olympic gold medal. In 1956 he also served as the flag bearer for Finland at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics and won the jumping event at the Holmenkollen Ski Festival. While preparing for the 1958 World Championships, Hyvärinen fell and broke his hip, which resulted in an early retirement in November 1957. From 1960 to 1964 he worked as the head coach of the Finnish ski jumping team.
With an HPI of 59.47, Paavo Lonkila is the 3rd most famous Finnish Skier. His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.
Paavo Olavi Lonkila (born Lång on 11 January 1923 – 22 September 2017) was a Finnish cross-country skier. He won a gold medal in the 4 × 10 km relay at the 1952 Olympics and finished third in the individual 18 km race, 11 seconds behind his teammate Tapio Mäkelä. Earlier his 4 × 10 km relay team placed second at the 1950 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, where he finished fifth over 18 km. He won the 18 km event at the 1951 Holmenkollen ski festival. Lonkila was a farmer by occupation.
With an HPI of 59.31, Juha Mieto is the 4th most famous Finnish Skier. His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.
Juha Iisakki Mieto (born 20 November 1949) is a Finnish former cross-country skier, who was born in Kurikka. He competed in the 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1984 Olympics and won five medals, including a gold medal in the 4 × 10 km relay in 1976. He also placed fourth three times, losing the 15 km bronze medal in 1972 by 0.06 seconds. He finished second in this event in 1980 in the closest-ever margin of victory in Olympic cross-country skiing, 0.01 seconds, which led the International Ski Federation (FIS) to round all of their times to the nearest 1/10 second in future competitions. Mieto was selected as the Finnish flag bearer at the 1972 Winter Olympics.Mieto won four medals at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, with silvers in the 30 km (1974) and the 4 × 10 km relay (1978), and bronzes in the 15 km (1978) and the 4 × 10 km relay (1982, tied with East Germany). His biggest success as a cross-country skier was at the Holmenkollen ski festival where he won the 50 km once (1973) and the 15 km five times (1973–1975, 1977–1978). He received the Holmenkollen medal in 1974.After retiring from competitions in 1984 Mieto worked in public relations for several organizations, including Nordea Bank, Kuortane Sports Resort and World Vision. In the 2007 Finnish parliament elections he was a Centre Party candidate in Vaasa constituency. He was elected with 13,768 votes, which was the seventh best result in Finland that year.
With an HPI of 59.25, Toini Gustafsson is the 5th most famous Finnish Skier. Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.
Toini Gustafsson Rönnlund (born Toini Karvonen on 17 January 1938) is a Swedish former cross-country skier. She competed in the 1964 and 1968 Winter Olympics and won four medals. Gustafsson also won the 10 km race at the Holmenkollen ski festival in each of 1960, 1967, and 1968. At the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships she collected three medals with a silver in 1962 (3 × 5 km relay) and two bronzes in 1966 (10 km and 3×5 km relay). For her successes in Nordic skiing and at the Holmenkollen, Gustafsson received the Holmenkollen medal in 1967 (Shared with Ole Ellefsæter). She is the first Swedish woman to win the Holmenkollen medal. In 1968, she was awarded the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal.She was married twice and had a daughter, Eva, born in 1956. In 1968 she divorced her first husband and married Swedish former cross-country skier Assar Rönnlund, with whom she had two more children. They became the second husband-wife team to win the Holmenkollen medal (Rönnlund earned the medal in 1968). Additionally, they are the only husband-wife team to win the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal.Gustafsson is an ethnic Finn. She was born in Suomussalmi, Finland, but was evacuated to Sweden when she was a child as a Finnish war child. She retired from competition in 1968 and later worked as a physical education teacher.She is the paternal grandmother of cross-country skier Elina Rönnlund.
With an HPI of 58.12, Heikki Hasu is the 6th most famous Finnish Skier. His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.
Heikki Vihtori Hasu (born 21 March 1926) is a Finnish retired Nordic skier who competed in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics.
With an HPI of 57.49, Janne Ahonen is the 7th most famous Finnish Skier. His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.
Janne Petteri Ahonen (pronounced [ˈjɑnːe ˈpetːeri ˈʔɑhonen] (listen); born 11 May 1977) is a Finnish former ski jumper and drag racer. He competed in ski jumping between 1992 and 2018, and is one of the sport's most successful athletes of all time, as well as one of the most successful from Finland. Ahonen won two consecutive World Cup overall titles, the Four Hills Tournament a record five times, two individual gold medals at the World Championships, and the Nordic Tournament once. Nicknamed Kuningaskotka ("King Eagle"), he has been described as the greatest ski jumper to have never won an individual medal at the Winter Olympics.
With an HPI of 56.87, Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi is the 8th most famous Finnish Skier. Her biography has been translated into 21 different languages.
Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi (née Hämäläinen; born 10 September 1955) is a Finnish former cross-country skier.
With an HPI of 54.94, Jouko Törmänen is the 9th most famous Finnish Skier. His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.
Jouko Sihveri Törmänen (10 April 1954 – 3 January 2015) was a Finnish ski jumper.
With an HPI of 54.55, Harri Kirvesniemi is the 10th most famous Finnish Skier. His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.
Harri Tapani Kirvesniemi (born 10 May 1958 in Mikkeli) is a Finnish former cross-country skier who competed from 1980 to 2001. During his career he won six Olympic medals (all bronzes), and also the 50 km event at the Holmenkollen ski festival in 2000. He retired after being caught doping at the 2001 World Championship in Lahti.
Pantheon has 39 people classified as skiers born between 1923 and 1992. Of these 39, 34 (87.18%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living skiers include Juha Mieto, Toini Gustafsson, and Heikki Hasu. The most famous deceased skiers include Matti Nykänen, Antti Hyvärinen, and Paavo Lonkila. As of October 2020, 11 new skiers have been added to Pantheon including Juha Mieto, Heikki Hasu, and Harri Kirvesniemi.
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Which Skiers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 5 most globally memorable Skiers since 1700.