Speech by the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the closing ceremony of the Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun on 1 March 2015

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We have enjoyed a great skiing festival here in Falun. Once again, you have organised outstanding world championships, full of the traditional Swedish hospitality.

For us Finns, skiing is at the heart of our national sports. Throughout the times, we have gained most of our medals in Nordic skiing events.  For this reason, we are delighted that in 2017 the City of Lahti will host the Nordic World Ski Championships for the seventh time. 2017 also marks the 100th anniversary of Finnish independence, and  the Lahti championships will be one of the main events of our centenary year. I am confident that Lahti will provide unforgettable experiences and atmosphere, just as we have experienced here in Falun.

For both athletes and spectators, we wish to offer an event that upholds all of the great traditions of competitive sports. Spectators will be able to enjoy immaculately organised world championships, in which all of the latest methods to track performances will be in use. Meanwhile, we also want those who are less interested in competitive sports performances to enjoy our warm-hearted winter carnival – both free and classic style.

For you, athletes, we will provide the opportunity to fully concentrate on your performance. We also want you to enjoy the atmosphere and relax – except during the actual competition.

I wish the whole international skiing community a warm welcome to Lahti in 2017. We are proud to host the next Nordic World Ski Championships in Finland.