Cross-Country Skiing

World Champion Niskanen’s brutal training regime

With 900 hours per year on the dark side of pain, Iivo shares fascinating training insights.
Written by Riikka Rakic
3 min readPublished on
Iivo Niskanen in Lahti, Finland

Sundby and Dyrhaug celebrate with Iivo Niskanen

© Nils Petter Nilsson/Getty Images

900 hours of training per year, consuming 6,000 calories per day just to keep going, running through swamps to build endurance, pushing yourself to the point of sickness – the road to a Cross-Country World Champion title is arduous and gruelling.
If you can endure the pain and push even harder, your chances are great. Iivo has no problem entering the dark side.
Olli Ohtone, Niskanen's coach
But the hard training has paid off – Iivo Niskanen's dream of winning the 15km classic during the World Championship in Lahti in front of his home crowd came true today!
Find out more about Niskanen's glorious victory below...

Learn about Iivo Niskanen's training secrets here:

10 min

Story Clip (Dirty) English Subtitles

Story Clip (Dirty) English Subtitles

Winning the gold medal in crushing fashion at the FIS Nordic Worlds in Lahti, Finland, the home crowd’s favourite Iivo Niskanen showed the rest of the world who was the king out there today. The Finn delivered a phenomenal performance in the men’s race, besting his runner-up Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway by 17.9 seconds over the 15km course. Behind Sundby, another Norwegian Niklas Dyrhaug claimed bronze, already more than 31 seconds behind the world champion.
Wednesday’s gold was Niskanen’s revenge for missing gold in the team sprint last week. The Finn was on his way to victory, only to crash together with the Norwegian team’s anchor just 200m before the finish. He had to console himself with bronze after seeing Russia and Italy pass due to the incident that has been the source for much discussion at the Lahti Worlds.
Iivo Niskanen in Vuokatti, Finland

Liking the pain is key to success.

© Victor Engström/Red Bull Content Pool

Triumphing in front of the home crowd in Wednesday’s individual start race held in the classical technique has been the dream that has kept Niskanen going for the past several seasons as he struggled with illness and other physiological problems after winning Olympic gold in the team sprint at Sochi 2014.
The 25-year-old has been solely focused on today’s race and opted to skip various World Cup events to best prepare for it, including choosing to race on the Lahti Worlds courses as the other top skiers raced in the Tour de Ski stage race over the New Year’s period.
On Wednesday, Niskanen clocked the fastest splits along the entire course bar the first one right off the start, leaving the competition in awe at his relentless pace. Coming off a season of solid finishes, Niskanen was one of the favourites for today’s race and made no mistake to realise the dream that his family says he had set himself as a little kid.
Never miss our stories again! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter to get the best right into your news feed!

Part of this story

Iivo Niskanen

One of the world’s most powerful and stylish cross-country skiers, Finland's Iivo Niskanen regularly challenges for honours at World Cup events.

FinlandFinland
View Profile