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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

Finding a New Career

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. I thought about it for a long time, but I went through the mourning period by writing an article on long-distance running for the book Juoksun hurma ja tuska (‘The Ecstasy and the Agony of Running’). I believe that the mental process that led me to retire helped me to grow as a person. Becoming a mother also helped me come to grips with the situation. Life kept on moving and I had to find a new identity. I was a former professional runner whose life was no longer governed by the thrills of running and winning. Sport was no longer the number one priority.

Fortunately there have always been other things in my life. I had pushed myself and felt how it feels to succeed outside sports as well; something which research shows can help when coming to terms with the end of an athletic career and embarking on another one.

When I was a student, I was often asked what I was going to do when I graduated, what I wanted to do when I “grew up.” I did not know how to answer that. My degree was a real mixed bag, dictated by my athletic career: languages and linguistics, phonetics, communications, and educational sciences. I felt like I could not really do anything properly. Just when I completed my master’s degree in 1998, I noticed that the Cultural and Sports Association of Finnish Vocational Education and Training was looking for a sports secretary. I doubted myself, but my mother encouraged me to apply for the position and I was hired. From the very first day I felt at home. This was exactly what I wanted to do, working with people and sports! I quickly became the Executive Director of the Association. I was young and inexperienced, but I learned that when you commit yourself and are not afraid to ask for help, you will always find a way!

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