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Skier Iivo Niskanen walking to the stage to receive the Athlete of the Year award at the Helsinki Arena on January 18, 2018. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Skier Iivo Niskanen, 26, wins the Athlete of the Year prize at the Finish Sports Gala at Helsinki Arena on Thursday evening.

This is the second time when Niskanen received the prestigious award. In 2014, Niskanen shared the title with his fellow team mate after winning Olympic gold in the team sprint with Sami Jauhojärvi in Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

In 2017, Niskanen won the 15-kilometer classical cross-country race at the Nordic world championship in Lahti. Niskanen also claimed bronze in the team sprint.

After winning the award, Niskanen said at the press conference that he is “about to take a direct flight to Korea.” He is looking forward to 2018 Winter Olympics, PyeongChang 2018, scheduled to take place from February 9 to 25 in South Korea.

“I will not place this award to hand luggage,” Niskanen said smiling while holding the shining “Uno prize” that looks like a shining silver dumbbell.

Tony Öhberg