The Finnish team at PyeongChang 2018 are harnessing the soothing effects of knitting to help them cope with the stresses of competition.
Some 50 members of the Finnish athlete and coaching contingent are using their down-time in between training and competing to make small knitted squares, to help them relax.
“It has become something of a hobby for me,” explained snowboard coach Antti Koskinen, who was spotted using his needles at the top of the slopestyle course, shortly before snowboarder Roope Tonteri set off on the qualifying run in the men’s slopestyle event on 10 February.
“I do it every four years,” continued Koskinen. “It’s a nice, Finnish thing... it means no unnecessary chit-chat is needed!”
Finnish snowboarding coach Antti Koskinen, who likes knitting on the slopes while his athlete is competing at Winter Olympics, shows how he knits during press conference in #PyeongChang2018 pic.twitter.com/fz6CVv6j59— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) 15 feb 2018
A gift for the president
Grinning as he continued to knit his small, blue woollen square, Koskinen said that around half of the 102-strong team were also knitting in PyeongChang.
The Finnish Winter Olympic team started using the novel method of stress relief at Sochi 2014, where they knitted a scarf which was then presented to their compatriots competing at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
This time around, they have decided to turn their collective knitting project into a blanket, which will then be presented to Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto and his wife Jenni Haukio, who gave birth to a baby just before the start of the Games.
The official feed of the Finland Olympic team sent social media into overdrive when they announced their latest project:
We are #knitting again 😀 In Sochi we made a huge scarf, this time we are knitting a blanket for our presidential couple’s newborn son. 💙🇫🇮#olympicteamfi #knittingteamfi #pyeongchang2018 #olympics #olympialaiset #pyeongchangfi pic.twitter.com/mwKLgh1h2j— Olympic Team Finland (@OlympicTeamFI) 12 february 2018
Meanwhile, 20-year-old ski jumper Eetu Nousiainen got even more carried away and has ended up producing a miniature scarf. “Maybe mine can be for the president's dog,” he chuckled.