Thu, Feb 15, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Finland’s love of knitting is the latest Olympic yarn

Reuters, PYEONGCHANG, South Korea

Finland snowboarding head coach Antti Koskinen, left, and Finland snowboarder Roope Tonteri yesterday show a knit heart to a news conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Photo: Reuters

Yarns, stitches, loops and purls, instead of spins, flips and slides — the Finnish team in Pyeongchang are using the soothing effects of knitting when Olympic pressure becomes too great.

“It has become something of a hobby for me,” said snowboard coach Antti Koskinen, who has been spotted with his needles out in the snow. “I mean, I do it every four years... It is a nice, Finnish thing... It means no unnecessary chit-chat is needed.”

Grinning as he continued to knit a small, blue woolen square, Koskinen said that about half of the 102-strong team were knitting at these Games.

The Finns started using the stress-relief method at the Sochi Games, where they knitted a scarf. Two years later at the Rio Olympics, they added to it.

However, their efforts this time are for a different project.

“We are knitting a blanket for our president’s child,” Koskinen said. “Everyone is knitting a little square, and then we will join them together... I got a bit carried away, so — a rectangle,” he said, holding it up.

Another to have gotten carried away was 20-year-old ski jumper Eetu Nousiainen, who worked away at a long strip of scarf.

“Maybe mine can be for the president’s dog,” he said, chuckling.

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