University of Jyväskylä

Finnish winter sports expertise exported to China

Members of the Chinese delegation on skis.
Members of the Chinese delegation on skis.
A collaboration between the University of Jyväskylä and Beijing Sport University has brought Chinese researchers to Finland for a study visit.

Eight representatives from Beijing Sport University are currently on a six-month visit hosted by the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä. The purpose is to enhance their winter sports expertise, with the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing at the front of their mind. The visiting group includes lecturers and associate professors from the fields of biomechanics, sport physiology and physiotherapy, and many of them work with athletes from the national teams of different sports.

Ice hockey in Jyväskylä

In January the main theme of this study visit, which started at the end of last year, was ice hockey. The Chinese delegation familiarised themselves with ice-hockey players’ training, coaching and support activities as introduced by JYP, one of the top teams in Finland.

At the beginning of the visit an international seminar led by Ben Waller, PhD, was launched in order to explore factors contributing to and preventing injuries among ice hockey players. The Chinese visitors also participated in the international Winter School of the University of Jyväskylä, and both cross-country skiing and skating as forms of physical activity have become familiar. Moreover, the programme for January included visits to various companies as well as a number of lectures and practical exercises in the fields of strength training and biomechanics.

Ski training in Vuokatti

At the end of January the group travelled to Vuokatti in Northern Finland, where their study of winter sports will continue until the end of March in the Sports Technology unit led by Professor Vesa Linnamo, University of Jyväskylä. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Nordic skiing World Cup recently concluded in Vuokatti, where the Sports Technology team made split-time measurements and analyses together with an international research team as part of an IPC-funded classification project. During the IPC World Cup event, the visiting researchers gave lectures to the Chinese group on winter sports in general and on Paralympic skiing in particular.

In Vuokatti, the group will also participate in a research project alongside training their own skiing skills. The Chinese visitors are also receiving mentoring for their own research projects from professors in the fields of biology of physical activity and health sciences. The Chinese delegation has been especially impressed by the close relationship between research and winter sports coaching in Finland, where research results are readily applied in training.

Extensive preparations in the background

This collaboration has been in preparation for several years through the Chinese contacts of Professor Sulin Cheng, who is working at the University of Jyväskylä. The agreement between the universities was signed in summer 2017, when the previous dean of the faculty, Lasse Kannas, visited Beijing with a Finnish delegation led by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä.

“This is a great opportunity for our faculty to present its expertise in winter sports, in particular. The faculty was pleased to take charge of this challenging task,” says Ari Heinonen, the new Dean of the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, who started in this post at the beginning of 2018. The collaboration also produces considerable financial income to the faculty.

During the spring, the delegation will visit a number of Finnish sports academies as well as attend skiing and biathlon events. The group will also make an extended visit to the KIHU Research Institute for Olympic Sports. Their stay in Finland will culminate in an international physiotherapy congress held in June in Helsinki.

Further information:

Ari Heinonen, Dean of the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, tel. + 358 40 805 3551,

Professor Vesa Linnamo, tel. +358 40 504 4800,

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