Several world stars had made it clear that they were retiring after today’s World Cup final in Holmenkollen, and with a moment to go Mari Eder did the same. In Yle’s studio, Kaisa Mäkäräinen was emotional.
The announcement came with just over an hour to the start of the last race of the season. Mari Eder retires at the age of 35.
That it’s over now is no big surprise. Eder hesitated about continuing after last year’s season, but still chose to continue racing after having kept going in the summer.
– Although the end of the season was marred by health problems, I am happy that I continued on this track for one last turn, and did it in my own way.
– Thanks to ambitious, hard work, I was able to reach top form once again and compete for top positions, writes Eder on Instagram.
In Yle’s studio, long-term teammate Kaisa Mäkäräinen was moved.
– I have had quite close contact with her during the week. The two of us were the face of Finnish biathlon for a long time.
– What I appreciate about her is her way of dedicating herself to the branch, despite the fact that many people always urged her to change to the length, because she was so talented at it.
Didn’t get it in the championship
Eder debuted in the World Cup already in the 2007/08 season. There were a total of 351 starts and three podium places.
In championships, her best effort was a fourth place in the distance race at the WC in Hochfilzen 2017. The lack of championship success is something that stings.
– Like all other elite athletes, I dreamed of an individual championship medal. It is still something that few are blessed with in Finnish sports, and in the end I have to state that my level, workload or talent was not enough for it, continues Eder.
– With this end point, I still wish for peace and quiet. In the end, I’ve learned to appreciate the enormous investment this required.
Get away immediately
It was in Holmenkollen that Eder, then with the surname Laukkanen, won both of his World Cup victories. The scalps came in sprint and hunt start in 2017.
In the last race of his career on the same track, there was no question of success. Eder’s run was quickly ruined after she missed three shots each on the first two shooters in the dense fog.
– I knew it would be difficult today, and I made it even more difficult on the rampart. But this was just about putting an end to the career, the last few weeks have been difficult, admits Eder after the race.
The standing shot worked better and Eder crossed the finish line to the cheers of the Finnish team as the 29th skater after a total of seven bars. She finished 22nd in the overall cup – her best placing in her career.
– It will certainly feel strange in the future. But I still feel peaceful.
– Last spring I wasn’t ready to quit, even though I had made the decision. Now I feel safer and have an understanding of being able to look back on my sacrifices, Eder thinks.
Her journey with the national team lasted over 15 years.
– I never really found the balance, it always felt like you were one step behind the goals.
Suvi Minkkinen was the best Finn in the race with a 20th place after two barriers, and finished 27th in the overall cup. In the Finnish team, Nastasia Kinnunen, 38, also gave thanks after yesterday’s sprint.
Many who quit
Eder’s resignation came at the last moment before the race, and already many top names had declared that it was the end of the venture.
Of them, Marte Olsbu Røiseland made the strongest farewell race. The Norwegian took her 44th career podium as she finished second in front of the home crowd.
Third Anais Chevalier-Bouchet also retired on the podium. In addition to them, Denise Herrman-Wick (sixth today) and Tirill Eckhoff have decided to retire.
No one managed flawless shooting in the heavy fog. Swede Hanna Öberg got away with a penalty round and won the season finale.
The podium finish was Sweden’s 35th of the season, which is a new record for the blue and yellow.
Mass start, 12.5 km
1) Hanna Öberg SWE 36.33.5 (1)
2) Marte Olsbu Røiseland NOR +22.6 (1)
3) Anais Chevalier-Bouchet FRA +43.7 (3)
4) Hanna Kebinger GER +46.5 (1)
5) Julia Simon FROM +56.6 (4)
20) Suvi Minkkinen FIN +1.55.8 (2)
29) Mari Eder FIN +4.54.6 (7)
1) Simon 1,093 points
2) Dorothea Wierer ITA 911
3) Lisa Vittozzi ITA 882
4) Herrmann-Wick 874
5) Elvira Öberg SWE 764
22) Amount 305
27) Minkkinen 228
53) Nastassia Kinnunen FIN 80
87) Venla Lehtonen FIN 1
The article updated with Eder’s comments after the race at 17:24.