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Finnish ice hockey gold winners return from Beijing Olympics

The team's captain said it was an emotional trip, not least because his first child was born just a couple of days before the games began.

Members of Finland's Olympic gold-winning ice hockey team and cross-country medalists returned from Beijing on Monday. Image: AOP

Members of the Finnish men's ice hockey team arrived at Helsinki Airport on Monday afternoon, fresh from their gold medal victory at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Sunday.

Joining the team on the flight from China were also cross-country skiers and Olympic medalists Krista Pärmäkoski and Kerttu Niskanen.

After a brief delay in Beijing due to a loading problem on the flight, the team members received a warm greeting upon their arrival at Helsinki Airport.

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Ice hockey team members alongside team captain, Valtteri Filppula (in middle) at Helsinki Airport on Monday afternoon, upon returning from their gold-winning victory at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

People who welcomed the athletes included the Minister of Culture and Sport of Finland, Antti Kurvinen as well as the Finnish Olympic Committee's president, Jan Vapaavuori.

The ice hockey team's captain, Valtteri Filppula, told Yle that the journey to China was very emotional, particularly as the games started just a couple of days after his first child was born.

"Yes, it was a storm of emotions. It was difficult to head to Beijing but at the same time I wanted to play, of course. Everything went well in the end and now it is good to come home with fun souvenirs," he said.

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Cross-country skiing medalists Kerttu Niskanen and Krista Pärmäkoski travelled from Beijing with the men's ice hockey team. Image: Lehtikuva

The ice hockey team were unable to stay at the airport for long, as they were due to meet thousands of fans at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium in the evening.

Cross-country silver- and bronze-medalist Niskanen said she planned to celebrate her victories at home with her brother on Tuesday.

"Wednesday will be the only day I will have time to rest at home. On Thursday it's a sprint race at Helsinki Stadium and then it's the World Cup in Lahti on the weekend," Niskanen said.