Lahti stages a great celebration at FIS Nordic World Ski Championships
The 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti (FIN) concluded on Sunday, 5th March after a very successful 12 days of Cross Country, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined action.
Altogether, 12 different nations won medals, with Norway and Germany having the most success. The Norwegians were strong particularly in Cross-Country, taking home 15 of their 18 total medals in the discipline, including seven gold medals. Germany also had much success making it to the top of the podium, with six of the 11 total medals being gold. For host Finland the apex of the Championships came in the men’s 15 km classic race when Iivo Niskanen struck gold.
In Cross Country, the top athletes individually were Marit Bjoergen (NOR), who earned four gold medals, while Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov was the top male athlete with four medals, of which two were gold. Norwegian Maiken Caspersen Falla also earned three gold medals with one individual and two team medals, while Charlotte Kalla (SWE), Martin Johnsrud Sundby (NOR) and Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen (NOR) picked up three medals each.
In Ski Jumping, Austria and Germany were the top teams with Stefan Kraft (AUT) claiming both individual gold medals. Carina Vogt earned the ladies’ individual gold medal and followed up with a second gold when Germany won the mixed team event.
Germany handled the pressure of being favourites as the main force in Nordic Combined with Johannes Rydzek claiming a gold medal in all four Nordic Combined competitions, with gold in the normal hill individual Gundersen in addition to leading Germany to both team event gold medals.
Saturday, 25th February brought the most fans to Lahti with a sell-out 35,000 fans packing the stadium to cheer on the Cross Country skiathlons and the Ski Jumping, closely followed by the final weekend which also saw massive crowds. In total, the Lahti Organising Committee exceeded their ticket sales goal with 180,000 total tickets sold and more than 220,00 attending the World Championships.
For the Finnish fans, it was a kick off to the celebration of 100 Years of Finnish independence, which played a key role throughout the World Championship action.
At the closing press conference FIS President Gian Franco Kasper stated "These have been very well organised World Championships. From the eye-catching look and feel of the Lahti 2017 World Championships all over the venue and city, to the great fan support to the excellent performances by the athletes, these have certainly been a memorable World Championships for everyone involved.”
The Finnish weather also cooperated very well during the two weeks with mild temperatures for the spectators and minimal wind for Ski Jumping. Sunny skies highlighted the weekend competition days, creating a festive atmosphere throughout the entire venue.
Away from the competitions, there was plenty to do as well. From a massive fan zone, which was the perfect place to spend time between competitions, to the Medals Plaza located a short walk from the venue, everything was easy for everyone to enjoy the full Lahti 2017 experience. It was also an environmentally friendly World Championships as presenting sponsor Stora Enso implemented several initiatives to keep the Championships green. Finnish (YLE) and Norway (NRK) stations broadcast the awards ceremonies live from their studios with more than 50,000 fans coming to the Medals Plaza during the Championships.
Lahti 2017 Organising Committee CEO Janne Leskinen said, "Our goal was to bring a new experience for the spectators and participants that they had never experienced before in Lahti, and I feel we delivered. We especially had much success with walk-up ticket sales as word of mouth spread about the Championships, which is a testament to the great atmosphere that our staff, volunteers and naturally the athletes, provided.”
The FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2019 will be held in Seefeld (AUT).