European javelin champion Antti Ruuskanen last weekend won the Finnish title with a PB of 88.98m. The 31-year-old took some time out from his busy schedule to answer our ‘personal bests’ questions.
My greatest rival
Tero Pitkamaki, my fellow Finnish thrower (the 2007 world champion and 2013 world silver medallist). As a Finn, he competes in so many of the same competitions as me but I also compete regularly against him internationally. He has won six major championship medals, which tells you something, and he is still a world-class thrower.
My best friend in athletics
It is difficult to say just one person. There are really good personalities in the javelin and in many of the other athletics events. I especially like those athletes who are the same in the media as they are in their personal life and not playing any roles.
The best track venue
My favourite international venue is the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich. I’m not really sure why, although I have always thrown well there during my career. (Ruuskanen won the European title last year with a PB of 88.01m and has twice placed second at the historic Weltklasse meeting.)
The best piece of coaching advice
‘Throw harder’. That was from my coach during a competition in Kuortane in 2013. I had done four throws less than 80m but following that 'advice' for my next throw, I threw a season’s best of 85.70m.
My best achievement in athletics
For sure, it was winning an Olympic bronze medal at the London 2012 Games and winning the European gold medal in Zurich last year.
My best achievement outside of athletics
The fact I have four different professions besides being a javelin thrower. I’m a qualified electrical engineer, sports adviser, sports masseur and personal trainer.
My greatest throw
I have to say my Zurich gold medal throw of 88.01m. The funniest one was in 2007 in Savonlinna when I threw it slightly downhill and beyond the sector area. It landed at 87.88m, but because it landed slightly downhill it was an irregular mark.
My greatest indulgence
Fishing or hunting in Finland or abroad. These two pastimes are the opposite of being in a hurry and help me de-stress. I fish in the summertime every now and then but during my off season I fish and hunt weekly.
My greatest disappointment
On four occasions I was named as the ‘reserve’ for Finnish teams at major championships – at the 2006 and 2010 European Championships, 2007 World Championships and 2008 Olympic Games. I was suffering from injuries during this period, but I also kept the belief that, if I was healthy, my best was yet to come. I was lucky in that I had a good team working with and helping me during this period.
The best athlete I have ever seen
No question it is Jan Zelezny (javelin world record-holder and three-time Olympic champion). His world record mark of 98.48m tells a story. No one has come close to this record and he also has far more 90m throws than any other athlete.
My best pre-competition song
I don’t have one particular song, but I enjoy listening to most songs with a good rock 'n’ roll rhythm. The mother of all training songs is Survivor's Eye of The Tiger.
Steve Landells for the IAAF