Ecstatic residents of Nokia, a small town of some 33,000 near populous Tampere, turned out Thursday afternoon to celebrate the bronze medal – and Finland’s only bit of metal – won by boxer Mira Potkonen in the recently-concluded Rio Olympics.
The third-place winner of the women’s 60-kilogram class said she was wowed by the warm reception and looking forward to the future.
"Yes, well I can’t be bothered to worry about it, I’m just looking forward. Better medals are waiting for me sometime in the future," Potkonen told Yle.
Hundreds of Nokia residents had turned out Thursday afternoon for a community celebration of Potkonen’s accomplishment at the Nokia sports hall, where the city also put on a spread for attendees. City officials also rewarded Potkonen with a lot of land.
"It’s great that the city of Nokia has organised this. It’s feels warm and good that this has been organised just for me," the Olympic medalist added.
"And it’s wonderful that the crowd has been watching [on] the television. They’ve cried, laughed, cheered and got excited. That’s awesome."
A dream come true
Potkonen said that she hoped that her Olympic achievement would encourage more people to take up boxing. She had requested that no flowers be brought to the town party, but had asked fans to donate money to the Nokia football club to support its work with young people.
"I hope that more people will practice boxing, [that] enthusiastic young people and older ones too, will get excited about this sport," the boxing champion remarked.
She issued a call to others who also have dreams of Olympic glory.
"Dream about everything [that seems] impossible. Even for me it sometimes felt like an impossible idea," Potkonen urged.