Finnish Sports Gala


January 19, 2022

The Finnish Sports Gala is an annual award event that rewards Finnish athletes and sports influencers. The organizers of the event in 2018 and 2019 were the Finnish Olympic Committee, the Finnish Paralympic Committee, Yleisradio, Veikkaus and Starsquad Oy. The first Finnish Sports Gala was held at the Helsinki Cable Factory on June 2, 2008. Since 2009, the gala has been held at Hartwall Arena, except in 2021 it was broadcast from YLE's TV studios in Pasila, Helsinki, due to the coronavirus. Yle TV2 has broadcast the gala live. In 2009, the Finnish Sports Gala and the Athlete of the Year gala merged and at the same time the award categories were merged. The Athlete, Team and Coach of the Year awards are chosen by the Federation of Sports Journalists. Nominees for the actual award categories are selected by an award committee chaired by Kalervo Kummola. The 300-member jury will select the candidates selected by the jury. It includes athletes, former athletes, politicians and representatives of organizations. In addition, special prizes will be awarded. Some prizes will be awarded based on a public vote. The 45-centimeter-high original silver-plated glass trophy at the sports gala has been designed by designer Harri Koskinen. The trophy is reminiscent of the Roman one. Its name is officially Uno, but the form Uuno is also used - especially in colloquial language. Today, Uno is handcrafted from Finnish stainless steel. The performers at the gala were accompanied in 2009 by the Vantaa Entertainment Orchestra conducted by Markku Johansson, in 2011 by the Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali, in 2012–2016 by the Riku Niemi Orchestra and in 2017–2021 by the Lenni-Kalle Taipale ensemble. The Finnish-Chinese winter sports co-operation gained prominence at the 2019 gala. One of the main sponsors was Huawei of China, whose representative was also handing out the Most Shocking Moment of Sports award.

Award Winning


Breakthrough: hockey player Antti Pihlström Example: Alpine skier Tanja Poutiainen Sports Influencer: Birgitta Kervinen, President of ENGSO, the umbrella organization for European sports organizations Background power: hockey player Erkki Haapanen Career award: Jukka Uunila Disabled sports: Leo-Pekka Tähti, world record in the 100-meter track run Special award for sports career: rally car driver Marcus Grönholm, combined skier Hannu Manninen, hockey player Raimo Helminen and hill jumper Janne Ahonen Anti-doping work of the year: Mäkelänrinne Sports High School, anti-doping work as part of the curriculum Sportsmanship: Kimi Räikkönen's world championship The most shocking moment of the year (with a public vote): Janne Ahonen's hill week victory Sports club: Olarin Gymnastics specialty club Sports event: a message event for Finnish-Swedish schools at the Stafettkarnevalen Marketing Act: Athletics Fundraising Project Round of Honor Sports culture act: Aki Riihilahti for his work on behalf of sports for the mentally handicapped Sports Journalism Award: Elixir Program


Athlete of the Year: shooter Satu Mäkelä-Nummela Female athlete of the year: shooter Satu Mäkelä-Nummela Young athlete of the year: snowboarder Peetu Piiroinen Team of the year: Finnish national football team under the age of 21 Coach of the year: Markku Kanerva, head coach of the Finnish national football team under the age of 21 Breakthrough: shooter Henri Häkkinen Example: swimmer Hanna-Maria Seppälä Sports influencer: Tuomo Jantunen, former Executive Director of Suomen Ladu, Sports Adviser Background: OK for all ages project Special award for sports career: runner Lasse Virén, gymnast Jani Tanskanen, disabled athlete Markku Niinimäki, shooter Juha Hirvi, basketball player Hanno Möttölä and motor athlete Mika Häkkinen Anti-doping act of the year: Tapio Korjus and Purely the Best project The most shocking moment of the year (with a public vote): The Finnish floorball team

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