Tuuli Merikoski
Humanist of the day

Tuuli Merikoski

Tuuli Merikoski, who admits to being an eternal runner at heart, has forged a reputation as a top athlete. The holder of the Finnish 800 metres record studied general linguistics at the University of Helsinki. Ms Merikoski, who is influential in sport at various levels through her role as a professional board member, is known internationally as an expert and career advisor specialised in Dual Career planning for athletes.

Tuuli Merikoski

Tuuli Sisko Merikoski
Born November 22, 1967 Tampere

Executive Masters in Sports Organization Management (MEMOS) 2007, University of Lyon
Specialist Qualification in Management 2001, Sport Institute of Finland
Master of Arts 1998 (general linguistics), University of Helsinki

Director of development for top-level sport education 2011–, Helmi Business and Travel College, Helsinki
Expert advisor on dual career planning for athletes 2001–11, Finnish Olympic Committee
Executive director 1999–2011, Cultural and Sports Association of Finnish Vocational Education and Training, SAKU
Sports secretary 1998, Cultural and Sports Association of Finnish Vocational Education and Training, SAKU
Top athlete 1987–94, Finnish Athletics Federation

Board of the Finnish Olympic Committee 2012–
Chairman of the board 2014–, Finnish Foundation for the Promotion of Athletes’ Professional Education
Board member 2014–, Urhea Foundation , Metropolitan Sports Academy
Board member 1998– Tampereen Pyrintö basketball team

Numerous expert lectures and workshops in sports and educational organisations, many articles on combining sport and study and athletes’ career planning.

“Dual Career in Finland” in the book Sport, Education and Training in Europe. A dual career for a dual life. 2015.

“Urheiluakatemiasta tukea opiskeluun ja huippu- urheiluun. Akatemioiden tarjoamia mahdollisuuksia ei vielä ole täysin oivallettu (‘Support from the sports academy for study and top-level sport. The opportunities offered by sports academies have yet to be fully appreciated’)” (Together with Jari Lämsä and Asko Härkönen) Liikunta & Tiede 2-3/2009

Memorandum of the working group investigating the financial situation of student athletes, Ministry of Education 2004

“Onnellisen naisen paluu” (Return of the happy woman) in the work Juoksun hurma ja tuska. suomalaisen kestävyysjuoksun kuva (‘The ecstasy and the agony of running. A portrait of Finnish long-distance running’) 1994.

Finnish women’s 800m record (2:00.59) 1991, still standing

Photo: Anu Laitila
Written by Tuuli Merikoski and Olli Siitonen (ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

As a little girl I was already light on my feet, much quicker than the other neighbourhood kids. The important thing, however, was not being faster than the others. Running itself was its own reward. Exercise was a big thing in my family, and that set the standard for me…

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As an athlete I reached the peak relatively quickly, but my career declined just as rapidly. I fell into the trap that is common with athletes: I trained too hard and lost my enthusiasm for the sport. The end of my athletic career was a hard and in some ways difficult phase in my life.

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My best memories from the University of Helsinki are related to the people I knew there and how they understood and respected my athletic career. Most of my dealings were with the academic staff at the Department of General Linguistics, but the whole Faculty seemed to have a positive attitude and a flattering hint of curiosity towards my athletic endeavours.

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After ten extraordinary years as the advisor on study and career planning on the Finnish Olympic Committee, I felt that for the time being I had given all I had to give in developing the nationwide support structure for athletes. I am wont to reinvent myself, but it felt like my mind was running in circles. I missed the activity that takes placed at the grassroots level.

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