Heikkinen moved into the lead at the 10km split and did not relinquish it. His winning time was 38:14:7.
On a good day for Finland, Sami Jauhojärvi finished fifth, Ville Nousiainen eighth and Tero Similä sixteenth. The Finns' backup team played an important role in the win, as the lubrication on their skis appeared to be better than that of other teams, including Sweden.
27 year-old Heikkinen is originally from Kajaani in the north of Finland, but represents Vantaan Hihto Seura in the capital city region.
Matti Heikkinen’s father told YLE that he left work in the middle of the day to follow his son’s progress. By the end of the race he was on his feet cheering his son on.
”I can honestly say that it feels good,” said Väinö Heikkinen. ”The goal that was set ten years ago has been reached. The race was won by the seventh kilometre, in my opinion. Knowing the boy’s strengths I saw then that he’d get at least a medal today.”
Heikkinen was keen to thank his son’s support group, without whom the success would not have been possible. He stressed that a father’s resources are limited, and will only go so far.
”Toni Reponen is a model coach,” said Heikkinen. ”Since Matti’s first coach passed away, he’s almost been like Matti’s second Dad.”
He testified to the thousands of kilometres he has driven over the years, taking Matti to competitions.
”He was eager to ski even as a little boy,” said Heikkinen. ”It was already like that then, that he had the opportunity to succeed in youth competitions. I was always taking him to Finnish competitions.”