Finland’s most successful track and field athlete and javelin champion Tero Pitkämäki announced on Monday that he was ending his career.
Speaking during a news conference at the Kuortane Olympic training centre in western Finland, Pitkämäki said that there was more to life than the javelin.
"This is a bit of a grieving process for me. Although it was well known that this day would come and I could prepare for it a little, it still feels empty and depressing. Fortunately javelin is just a sport and there is much more to life," he commented.
The Finnish champion has previously said that he would end his career at the latest after the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. However on Monday he said that he didn’t have good reason to continue, adding that there were many reasons for him to call it a day.
"When it became clear to me that I was no longer in the condition I wanted to be in and that I would no longer get there, my enthusiasm and motivation for the sport dried up. That is the biggest reason for the decision," he explained.
A stellar career with the javelin
This summer was a quiet period for Pitkämäki, as he did not compete. One year earlier in June, he ruptured the ACL ligament in his support knee during the Paavo Nurmi games in Turku. He underwent surgery in August after which he embarked on a long period of recovery and rehabilitation.
The 36-year-old originally intended to compete in the Athletics World Championships that ended on Doha, Qatar. He said he experienced no pain during practice in the summer, but the knee didn’t provide the level of functionality that he’d hoped for.
"This wasn’t [just] about the knee, but the leg wasn’t in the physical condition that was required. My legs have been my strongest asset. I have been able to use them for my longest throws," he noted.
Pitkämäki said that his throws this summer had reached around 75 metres and added that he didn’t believe that he would have been able to accomplish 83-metre efforts in Doha as he had done in the past.
Pitkämäki won seven medals in international events and eight Finnish championships. He set a personal best at the Kuortane summer games in 2005 when he hurled the javelin 91.53 metres – still the eleventh-longest throw in the world.