Niko Kukkonen: Adversities strengthen my motivation

CCEA sponsors young alpine skier Niko Kukkonen, who does not want to stay away from the slopes long. Niko, who will soon come of age, was just leaving for a preparation camp in Austria for next season when we discussed with him. After one month without skiing he was already waiting eagerly to hit the slopes. His eyes are already firmly on the new season 2018–2019 although not much time has passed since last season.

Expectations gather, when you are flowing with the snow

Last season started off well for Niko. “Training in the preparation camps in Austria in the beginning of the season went better than before and my expectations rose high. In the actual competitions, however, I started trying too hard and ended up skiing out. After Christmas we competed in Central-Europe again. There I managed to race with a more relaxed feeling and results were immediately better”, Niko says.

Last year was the first in adult competitions for Niko. He also received his first podium placings in adult series and ranking points went up. Towards the end of the year, results were good in speed events but all in all Niko has mixed feelings about the last season:

“When I ski well, I tend to gather up expectations and think it should always go that well. However, especially slalom is very technical sport where mistakes can be made easily. I shouldn’t care about the races that did not go so well but fully enjoy the rides”, Niko reflects.

Strong motivation for next season

Small adversities have not discouraged the young athlete, on the contrary, motivation for the next season is even higher than before: “Actually I think that the hardships have not decreased my motivation but on the contrary, I want to train harder than ever”, Niko says. His intention is to get mental coaching during summer to develop skills in controlling expectations and handling pressure.

The Alpine School in Tahko offers excellent opportunities to combine sports career and school. Niko has two years upper-secondary school studies left. Sport is still the number one thing in Niko’s life and he aims at getting a spot in the national junior team.

CCEA wishes Niko happy summer training and success for the coming season!