THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – Michael Somppi will be joining the World Cup Cross Country Ski Team in Europe this Friday. The National Development Centre Alumnus and Thunder Bay native is currently a member of the National Ski Team and Alberta World Cup Academy located in Canmore, Alberta, Somppi solidified his World Cup Starts by his consistent racing on the FIS NorAm regional series this season.
Micheal Somppi – World Cup Bound
Based on the best of 9 races in the series, Somppi secured the leader spot after a gold medal performance at the Western Canadian Championships this past weekend. Tied with National Ski teammate, Jess Cockney, for total points, Somppi was declared the series leader by having more wins.
This has been a goal of Somppi’s all year, “It feels amazing to accomplish this objective, I don’t think it’s really hit home yet. I’ll probably start to believe it more once I land in Europe and start competing. It’s definitely a big step in my skiing career and will give me a new sense of self confidence moving forward”
One of the top distance racers in Canada, Somppi will start his World Cup debut on March 9th and 10th in Lahti, Finland with a skate sprint and 15km classic race before traveling to Oslo, Norway for the 50km Hollmenkollen on March 15th. Somppi will then race the World Cup Finals in Sweden from March 20th-24th. This doubles Somppi’s World Cup Starts to date, having raced in 6 previous World Cups.
Somppi is quite realistic when setting his expectations for these World Cups, “with this opportunity I hope to crack the top 30 and get comfortable with racing against the best in the world. This is a step towards the World Cup team for me, but it is only the first step. I have more to learn, more to improve on before I will be ready to race the World Cup circuit for a full season, but that’s what this opportunity is all about. It will give me a chance to compare myself against the best and hopefully learn from the best.”
Turning into a skate distance specialist, the race that Somppi won at the Western Canadian Championships to earn this berth to the World Cup, Somppi is excited to have an opportunity to prove himself on the world stage, “my 6 World Cup starts to date I have yet to compete in my best event, skate distance. Fortunately there are two skate distance races left on the World Cup calendar, the 50km Hollmenkollen is skate this year and there is a 15km Skate Pursuit as part of the World Cup Finals. These will be my focus events while I am in Europe.”
Being from Thunder Bay, with such a strong ski community, Somppi is proud to be representing his hometown, “there’s certainly a sense of pride that comes with representing my hometown and my country on the World Cup circuit. I am looking forward to the racing opportunities this trip will bring and I hope to represent Thunder Bay and Canada well.”
Sommpi will fly directly to Vancouver, BC for the Canadian National Championships upon completion of the World Cup finals.