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Janne Hyytäinen has 5-9 exercises a week and muscle maintenance on top. Photo: Esa Kinnunen.


Actor Janne Hyytiäinen: What the son leads, the father follows

Many fathers and mothers have been bitten by the biathlon fly from their own child's hobby. One of them is Janne Hyytiäinen of the Oscar-nominated film Dead Leaves.

Biathlon offers first-hand excitement to more and more adult enthusiasts.

"Few people know that you can practice sports with a fitness mindset just like any other sport. The competitions, which are the salt of the hobby, bring together enthusiasts up to the age group over 80 years old," says Lauri Elo, field manager of the Finnish Biathlon Union.

Elo says that there is growth potential in the number of enthusiasts of the sport. The condition is that trial opportunities and biathlon schools for adults are actively organized.

"There would definitely be visitors because skiing is popular again", says Elo.

The spark of the actress was          

One of those who took up biathlon as an adult is actor Janne Hyytiäinen from Kontiolahti. Hyytiäinen, known from the Oscar-nominated film Kuolleet lehdet and other works by Aki Kaurismäki, tried the sport in his son's wake in Kontiolahti in the early 2010s.

"The coaches urged us parents to try it as well. The club found a gun, skis and even skis to borrow if you didn't have them yourself," says Hyytiäinen.

The sport absorbed Hyytiäinen completely. Now the 55-year-old man has some kind of exercise in his calendar almost every day, two on the best days. The daily rhythm is disciplined. When work ends at four, it's time for naps, meals and training.

"You shouldn't exaggerate either. Fortunately, there is a coach who looks behind and keeps excessive urges under control," Hyytiäinen says and refers to Arto Mular, who leads a group of adult enthusiasts in Kontiolahti Urheilijoi.

World Championship in March

Hyytäinen's main goal this winter is the veterans' WC in Oulu and March's unofficial veterans' WC in Kontiolahti.

The World Cup held annually in Kontiolahti has brought participants from exotic countries, such as Australia.

There are three individual races in the program of the race week: a sprint race, a normal distance and a joint start.

"Those games combine global thinking, community and the joy of doing. All participants are serious, but each has their own skills and style. The immediate atmosphere and joy are palpable. Those are crazy things when you see, for example, over 80-year-olds on the track doing their best."

Info: Biathlon as an adult?

  • There are hundreds of active adult hobbyists. Currently, there are a total of 160 regularly competing adult athletes (+35 years old). A quarter of them are women. However, there are more enthusiasts, as not everyone competes in competitions outside of their own club.
  • The majority of adult enthusiasts have also practiced biathlon when they were young. Some, however, start as adults without previous sports background.
  • The biathlon clubs also have activities for adults. Examples include Puijon Ski Club / Kuopio (contact: chairperson Maija Ruotsalainen 040 514 6739), Kontiolahti Urheilijat (contact: executive director Jarno Lautamatti, 043-2180573)
  • Biathlon International Masters competitions 11.-17.3.2024 at the Kontiolahti Biathlon Stadium