17 Best Curling Players in Finland: A Historical Perspective

Matt Reynolds

The sport of curling has become increasingly popular in Finland over the past few years. With its fast-paced and strategic gameplay, it’s easy to see why. Finland has produced some of the world’s best curling players, with many competing in international competitions.

Here, we take a look at some of the best curling players in Finland, including their career highlights, and what makes them so successful.

1. Wille Mäkelä

Wille Mäkelä is a Finnish curler and Olympic medalist who has achieved great success in the world of curling. He achieved a career highlight in 2006 when he won a silver medal at the Winter Olympics in Torino.

He followed up this success with two bronze medals at the World Curling Championships.

In 2000, Wille was part of the Finnish team that won a gold medal at the European Curling Championships. This impressive list of awards and medals demonstrates Wille Mäkelä’s talent and skill on the curling rink.

He has worked hard to become one of the world’s foremost curlers and his accomplishments are a testament to his dedication and commitment to the sport. Wille Mäkelä is an inspiration to aspiring curlers and a great representative of the Finnish curling team.

2. Tomi Rantamaeki

Tomi Rantamäki is a Finnish curler who represented his country in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Along with his partner Oona Kauste, they managed to finish in 7th place in the mixed doubles competition.

As an experienced curler, Rantamäki has been chosen as the coach of the Chinese Mixed Doubles Curling team since 2021. This is his first time coaching a team in the Olympics, and with his expertise and leadership, the team is surely in good hands.

Rantamäki is an example of the potential of Finnish athletes and is living proof that determination and hard work can achieve great things.

3. Jussi Uusipaavalniemi

Jussi Uusipaavalniemi is a Finnish male curler who made his debut in the sport in 1979 at the age of 14.

His brother, Markku Uusipaavalniemi, is also a Finnish male curler, making them two of the most prominent curlers from Finland. Jussi Uusipaavalniemi has been an active curler for over 40 years, having started the sport when he was just 14 years old.

He has represented Finland in numerous international tournaments and has been an important part of the curling scene in his country.

He is well respected by his peers and is known for his expertise in the sport. Markku Uusipaavalniemi is also a formidable curler in his own right. He has been a part of the curling scene in Finland for many years and has also won several international competitions.

He is also a coach for younger curlers, helping to develop their skills and knowledge of the sport. The Uusipaavalniemi brothers are a curling powerhouse, and their success has helped to put Finland on the international curling map.

Their dedication to the sport and the work they have put in over the years has helped to make curling a popular sport in Finland. They have both been an inspiration to many and are a testament to the power of hard work and dedication.

4. Oona Kauste

Oona Kauste is a highly talented athlete from Helsinki, Finland. She is a curler, a sport which involves sliding stones on ice towards a target. Kauste is currently the skip of the Finnish National Women’s Curling team. As a skip, she is the captain and strategist of the team.

She is responsible for making the calls and guiding her team through each round of the game. Kauste is an experienced curler and has taken part in international curling events.

She has represented Finland at the World Championships, the European Championships, and the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. She has also taken part in the Winter Olympics, having competed in the 2014 and 2018 games. Kauste is an excellent strategist and leader.

She has an impressive record of success in the sport, having won numerous medals at international competitions. She is also a highly respected athlete, having been awarded the title of “Finnish Curler of the Year” in 2017.

Oona Kauste is an extremely talented curler from Helsinki, Finland. She is a key part of the Finnish National Women’s Curling team, serving as the skip and strategist.

Her experience and leadership make her an invaluable asset to the team, and she has achieved great success in the sport.

5. Pekka Saarelainen

Pekka Juhani Saarelainen is a talented Finnish male curler. He has achieved a great deal of success in the sport, including becoming a European curling champion.

Saarelainen also represented his country at the 2002 Winter Olympics, where the Finnish men’s curling team placed fifth overall. Saarelainen started curling in 1985 at the age of 18, showing an early passion for the sport.

His commitment and determination to succeed have paid off, as he has now become a respected curler in the international curling community. His success is an inspiration to many, showing that hard work and dedication can help you reach your goals.

6. Sanna Puustinen

Sanna Puustinen is a Finnish curler who has been participating in international competitions since 2005.

Puustinen was born and raised in Hyvinkää, a city located in the southern part of Finland, but currently lives in Helsinki, the capital city of the country. Puustinen has been representing Finland in four different European Curling Championships.

The first one was in 2005, where she was an alternate, meaning that she was not part of the line-up that played in the tournament but was available as a substitute if needed.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have the chance to play in any game as part of the Finnish team, which finished 10th in that competition.

7. Kalle Kiiskinen

Kalle Kiiskinen is a Finnish curler who has had a long and successful career. He first made his mark in junior curling as a member of Perttu Piilo’s team, winning a silver medal at the 1997 World Junior Curling Championships.

This was his first major international success and it set the tone for his later career. Kiiskinen then moved on to play as the third for Uusipaavalniemi’s team. In 2002, he made his first appearance at the World Curling Championships.

Although his team didn’t win any medals, Kiiskinen was able to compete at the highest level of the sport and gain valuable experience. Since then, Kiiskinen has continued to play at an impressive level.

He has appeared at numerous World Curling Championships, winning several medals in the process. He is now considered one of the top curlers in the world. Overall, Kalle Kiiskinen has established himself as a highly respected curler in Finland and beyond.

His success at the junior level set the tone for his later career and he continues to perform at a high level today. He is a great example of hard work and dedication paying off in the sport of curling.

8. Janne Pitko

Janne Pitko is a Finnish curler from Espoo and is an accomplished athlete. His career in curling began in 2015 when he represented Finland in the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

He was the lead for the Finnish national team and was able to help them to a good performance. Outside of curling, Pitko is a professional poker player and also supports the Finland national football team.

This shows that Pitko is a multi-faceted individual who is passionate about sports and is dedicated to helping his country in any way he can. He is also an excellent example of someone who has achieved success in different arenas and is a great role model for aspiring athletes.

9. Teemu Salo

Teemu Salo is a Finnish curler from Hyvinkää who has been playing lead position for Markku Uusipaavalniemi since 2002.

Salo has achieved a great deal of success in the sport of curling, most notably winning a silver medal as part of Uusipaavalniemi’s team at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Additionally, he won a gold medal at the 2005 European Mixed Curling Championship, playing second for Uusipaavalniemi. Salo’s success as a curler is due to his skill and dedication to the sport.

He has a great understanding of the game and has been able to succeed in a variety of roles. He is able to make precise shots and understands the importance of strategy and teamwork.

Salo is an important member of Uusipaavalniemi’s team, and his contributions have been crucial to the team’s success. Salo’s success in curling has been a great source of pride for Finland.

He has been able to prove to the world that Finnish curlers can achieve success at the highest levels. His accomplishments have also served as an inspiration to other young Finnish curlers, and have helped to spread the popularity of the sport in Finland.

Overall, Teemu Salo has been a great ambassador for the sport of curling. His success and contributions have been invaluable, and his achievements will continue to inspire future generations of Finnish curlers.

10. Maija Salmiovirta

Maija Salmiovirta is a professional Finnish curler. She is the second for the Oona Kauste team and has been curling since 2008.

Salmiovirta joined the Bettina Mandelin team as a lead shortly after beginning her curling career, competing in the 2009 Finnish Women’s Curling Championship. Despite being relatively new to the sport, the team finished in seventh place in the 2009 championship.

The following year, the team improved their performance and finished in fifth place. Salmiovirta’s early success in curling is a testament to her dedication and skill.

11. Jari Laukkanen

Jari Petteri Laukkanen is a renowned Finnish curler and curling coach. He is a highly accomplished curler, having won multiple European and World titles.

He has also had the honor of representing Finland at the 2002 Winter Olympics, where the Finnish men’s curling team placed fifth. Laukkanen began his curling career at the age of 14, in 1979.

Since then, he has gone on to become not only a champion curler, but also a respected coach, working with teams of all levels and ages. His success and knowledge of the game have made him a respected figure in the world of curling.

He has won several European titles, including the European Curling Championship in 2011, as well as a bronze medal at the World Men’s Curling Championship in 2015.

His commitment to the sport has been recognized over the years, as he was inducted into the World Curling Hall of Fame in 2018.

In addition to his success as a curler, Laukkanen has also worked to give back to the sport by coaching teams at all levels. Overall, Jari Petteri Laukkanen has had an impressive career in the sport of curling.

His accomplishments as a curler and coach have been celebrated by his peers, and he has served as an inspiration to many aspiring curlers. He is a true testament to the power of dedication and perseverance.

12. Marjo Hippi

Marjo Hippi is a Finnish curler from the capital city of Helsinki. She is currently playing the lead position for the Oona Kauste rink. Hippi was born in Nurmo, a municipality in the Pirkanmaa region of Finland.

She began curling in 2004 and joined the Tuire Autio rink the following year. During her time with the Tuire Autio rink, she achieved a 4th place finish at the Finnish Women’s Curling Championship in 2006.

Since then, Hippi has become an integral part of the Oona Kauste rink, which has had great success in recent years. The team has consistently competed at the highest level of international curling, and have won numerous championships and awards.

Hippi’s experience and skill have been invaluable to the team’s success. She is an excellent example of the talent and dedication of Finnish curlers and is a great ambassador for the sport.

13. Jaana Jokela

Jaana Jokela is a Finnish professional curler and curling coach. She is an eight-time Finnish women’s champion curler, having achieved success at the national level.

At the international level, she has been a long-time skip of the Finnish national women’s curling team, competing in nine World championships and fifteen European championships.

This impressive record shows her dedication to her sport and her success in competing at the highest level of curling. Jokela’s participation in the World and European championships has been an important part of her career.

She has won multiple medals in both competitions, and her experience has allowed her to help her team reach higher levels of success.

Additionally, her success has been an inspiration to other Finnish curlers, helping to raise the profile of the sport in Finland. In addition to her accomplishments on the curling rink, Jokela is also a highly-regarded curling coach.

She has coached many teams in Finland and abroad, and her unique insights and expertise have helped many curlers reach their goals.

She has also helped develop the sport in Finland, providing advice and guidance to the national curling organization. Overall, Jaana Jokela is an important figure in the world of curling.

She has achieved success at the highest levels of international competition, has inspired many other curlers in Finland, and has provided valuable coaching to many teams.

Her dedication to the sport is undeniable, and she is truly a role model and leader in the curling community.

14. Raimo Lind

Raimo Lind is a Finnish curler who has achieved remarkable success in the sport. At the international level, he has won a 1999 European bronze medal, demonstrating his skill and ability to compete against some of the best in the world.

At the national level, he is a two-time Finnish men’s champion curler, having won the Finnish men’s curling championships on two occasions.

His achievements show that he is not only an excellent curler, but also a great competitor, able to consistently perform at a high level in the sport. Raimo Lind is a true example of what dedication and hard work can achieve in the sport of curling.

15. Juhani Heinonen

Juhani Heinonen is an accomplished curler and curling coach from Finland. He has been dominating the Finnish curling scene for many years, having won eight Finnish men’s championships and four Finnish senior championships.

His success is a testament to his skill and dedication to the sport. He has been a leader in the curling community, both at the national and international level and has inspired many to take up the sport.

He is a respected figure in the curling world, and his accomplishments have made him a household name in Finland.

16. Kasper Hakunti

Kasper Hakunti is a Finnish curler with a distinguished record in the international curling community. He is known for his skill and expertise in the sport, as well as his leadership abilities.

In 2015, Hakunti represented Finland in the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. As vice-skip of the Finnish team, he was responsible for guiding the team’s strategy and helping to make important decisions.

He also played an important role in motivating the team and helping them stay focused on their goals. Hakunti’s performance at the championship was impressive, as the Finland team was able to reach the semi-finals of the tournament.

This was a great achievement, and Hakunti’s leadership and skill were key factors in their success. His performance at the championship not only demonstrated his prowess as a curler but also his ability to lead and guide a team to success.

17. Markku Uusipaavalniemi

Markku Uusipaavalniemi is a renowned figure in Finland. He is a curler, a sport that involves sliding a large stone on a sheet of ice towards a target area. Uusipaavalniemi has won numerous medals in curling events and is considered one of the most decorated curlers in Finland.

He is also a former politician, having been a member of the Finnish Parliament from 1999 to 2011. He was also a member of the Finnish Curling Association from 1988 to 2011.

During his time in politics, Uusipaavalniemi was an advocate for environmental protection and various social issues. He is remembered for his passionate speeches and his dedication to the cause of Finnish citizens.

Uusipaavalniemi is an inspirational figure in Finland, and his example of combining sports with politics is something that many people look up to.

Conclusion

Finland is a powerhouse in the world of curling, with many of its players having achieved success at the highest level.

With a strong curling culture and a history of producing top-level talent, Finland continues to be one of the best countries to watch and play curling.

From veteran players like Markku Uusipaavalniemi and Oona Kauste to up-and-coming stars like Aku Kaustinen, Finland is sure to remain a force to be reckoned with in the world of curling for many years to come.

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Matt Reynolds

As a sports journalist and news reporter, my passion lies in covering Olympic sports and bringing the excitement of these events to readers around the world. With extensive experience in sports reporting, I have developed a deep understanding of the intricacies and dynamics of various Olympic disciplines. My goal as a journalist is to provide accurate, insightful, and engaging coverage of Olympic sports. From capturing the triumphs and challenges of athletes to analyzing their performances and strategies, I strive to deliver comprehensive stories that resonate with sports enthusiasts. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, I aim to go beyond mere reporting by delving into the human stories behind the athletes. By highlighting their journeys, sacrifices, and aspirations, I seek to create meaningful connections between readers and the world of Olympic sports. Whether it's track and field, swimming, gymnastics, or any other Olympic sport, I am dedicated to delivering timely news updates, captivating features, and thought-provoking analysis. Through my writing, I aim to inspire readers with the incredible feats accomplished by athletes on the global stage. Join me on this exhilarating journey as we dive into the world of Olympic sports together. Let's celebrate athleticism at its finest while uncovering compelling stories that showcase both triumphs and tribulations. Together, we can experience firsthand the thrill of sporting excellence in all its glory through my dedicated coverage as a passionate sports journalist and news reporter specializing in Olympic sports.