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Finnish ski jump legend Matti Nykänen to get state-funded funeral

The government has decided to foot the bill for the funeral of Finnish ski jumping champ Matti Nykänen, who passed away on 3 February.

Matti Nykänen
File photo of ski jumping champion Matti Nykänen who died on 3 February, 2019. Image: Timo marttila / EPA

The entertainment weekly Seiska reported on Monday that European, Culture and Sports Minister Sampo Terho had confirmed the state’s intention to cover the cost of a funeral for Finland's Flying Finn, Matti Nykänen, who died in early February.

"I can confirm on the basis of information I received from the family. We have agreed with Nykänen’s family that the Ministry of Education and Culture will pay the funeral costs. I believe that Matti has earned it based on his sporting accomplishments," Terho told Seiska via text message.

Terho had previously floated the idea of a state funeral for the troubled ski champion. Finland's last state send-off for a top athlete took place in 1989 with the funeral of skier Tapani Niku.

During a career that spanned a decade, Nykänen racked up a total of five Winter Olympic medals, nine World Championship medals and 22 Finnish Championship medals.

The charitable organisation Pietarinkadun Oilers had previously said that it intended to pay for the last rites as a tribute to the Finnish Olympian.

A date for the funeral has not yet been announced.

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