Walter to Karhumaan the name can be found in the combined national team published by the Ski Federation in May, but Karhuma has not been involved in the national team’s activities for three months.
Karhumaa, who turned 21 in June, tells Urheilu that he is considering whether his sports career will continue at all. Karhumaa says that the head coach has announced Antti Kuisma from the beginning of the season, that there is no reason to make plans for the coming winter.
– I spoke about it for the first time since the beginning of the season. He (Kuisma) was very understanding. There were no major dramas. He gives me all the time I need, says Karhumaa.
– So far I have announced that I have withdrawn from national team activities and for the time being also from competitions. Time will tell how the sequel takes shape. I haven’t made any final decisions. Let’s put it this way, I’m looking at different options in terms of studying and a sports career.
According to Karhumaa, it is unlikely that he will be seen competing in the early winter. He doesn’t give a damn about what options in studies and other life are on the table in addition to a sports career.
– Of course you can wonder, but naturally I don’t have to give answers. Let’s say in a roundabout way that other options have been looked at. I don’t want to comment further on this.
You disappear in the champion team
What makes Karhumaa’s situation special is that last season was not a disaster for him.
Vice versa. The talent of the Ounasvaara Ski Club scored their first World Cup points in January (28th in Seefeld) and claimed a place at the World Cup in Planica. In them, he was able to compete in both individual races, the result of which was the 32nd and 33rd places.
However, Karhumaa’s name is best remembered from March 2022. At that time, he was part of Finland’s four-member youth World Cup team that won relay gold in Zakopane, Poland. He was eighth in the individual competition.
Since then, the careers of the combined World Cup golden foursome have been in headwinds. Perttu Reposen last season was ruined due to illness, and Eelis Meriläinen switched to combined cross-country skiing for this season. According to Karhumaa, the decision about the fate of his own career is not ready yet.
– There is absolutely no intention to make any decisions in the coming weeks or months. This has been simmering for a long time. It’s really not a spur of the moment thing. Unfortunately, I have no better answers in this situation, Karhumaa elaborates.
In recent months, Finnish skiing has been in the headlines for financial matters, as the Ski Federation has tried to repair its finances, which were severely hit by freezing temperatures last season. According to Karhumaa, the situation of the Ski Federation did not affect his decision to withdraw from the national team.
– Financial matters are naturally a big part of a sports career. The union plays a central role in my own career. My decision is the sum of many things. Of course, I take full responsibility for my own decision and I’m not pointing fingers at anyone, says Karhumaa.
United’s head coach Antti Kuisma describes Karhumaa’s decision as a surprising and painful blow to the Finnish united.
– There were no clear signs in the air that he was thinking about such things. On the other hand, I understand him when it comes to a young and goal-oriented person, not only in sports but also in the civilian side. Understandable, but painful information for a Finnish joint family, says Kuisma.
The head coach estimates that Karhumaa will not be seen competing at all next winter.
– My understanding is that the sport has not been practiced with a goal in mind, but has been focused on other things and starting studies, as was discussed.
– As far as I understand, he has informed the anti-doping commission (Suek) that he is on break and out of the scope of national team activities and testing. In other words, he has practically finished being an athlete. If he comes back, he has to come through official channels, Kuisma says.
About athletes who quit in previous years, but have since returned Hannu Manninen and Janne Ahonen had to spend half a year in testing to get back to the races.
Karhumaa left and returned
Karhumaa’s name will not completely disappear from the Finnish national team in the coming season, because Waltteri Karhumaa’s older brother, who is two years older Wille Karhumaa returned to the sport in the spring after a year’s sabbatical. He is yet to be seen in the national team.
– We give him all the support, but if he wants to participate in the national team, it will happen through the screens. Jesse Pääkkönen has made a good climb and was in the top four at the summer GP. I would love to see him in the national team as a new name when there is a chance, says Kuisma.