Paralympian from Pori Leo-Pekka Tähti Is the Athlete of the Year

Filming and editing: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The Paralympic gold medalist Leo-Pekka Tähti, 33, was selected as the Athlete of the Year in Helsinki Arena under a record crowd of 6,000 strong. Over one million viewers were watching the direct broadcast from the Finnish Sports Gala on TV on Tuesday evening, when Tähti, the gold-medal winner of 100-meter wheelchair sprint in Rio 2016 Paralympics, rolled on the stage, escorted by echoing applauds.

The Paralympian from Pori, Leo-Pekka Tähti, 33, was truly surprised by his selection as the Athlete of the Year at the Finnish Sports Gala in Helsinki on January 17, 2017. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The Paralympian from Pori, Leo-Pekka Tähti, 33, was truly surprised by his selection as the Athlete of the Year at the Finnish Sports Gala in Helsinki on January 17, 2017. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Tähti is the first Paralympian in Finland to be recognized as the Athlete of the Year. “After 2012, I haven’t dared to dream of this,” Tähti said on the stage, hugging the golden discus in his lap.

Tähti was referring to his gold medal and world-record performance in the 2012 Paralympics in London; he sprinted a 100-metre dash in 13.63 seconds. In Rio de Janeiro in September, Tähti’s time was 13.90. It was the fourth successive gold medal of his career in Paralympic Games.

Emotional Tähti mesmerized by the moment. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Emotional Tähti mesmerized by the moment. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The Finnish Sports Gala

The Finnish Sports Gala has been arranged since 2008. The jury consists of a selection of different sports committees, associations and writers.