Ruuskanen adds national title to his London bronze medal
Finnish Championships less than inspiring ahead of annual Finnkampen encounter with Sweden
The Finns probably did not wish or even need to be made aware of the depressed state of Finnish athletics, but the annual national championships - held this year in Lahti - nevertheless provided a reminder just a couple of weeks after the London Olympics.
Amidst a sea of results that would not have troubled even the B-qualifying times and distances for a major international competition, one event alone stood out, the last knockings of the nation's great past in track and field: the men's javelin.
Held on the final day of the meeting, the javelin actually turned into a bit of a thriller, further highlighting the relative mediocrity that had come before.
As in London, the main protagonists were Tero Pitkämäki, Ari Mannio, and Olympic bronze medallist Antti Ruuskanen.
Ruuskanen confirmed the London result was no fluke by delivering a mighty throw of 87.79 metres with his last effort, to take his first-ever Finnish title.
This throw would not only have been good enough to win the gold medal at the Olympics by several metres, but was also the second-longest recorded anywhere in the world this season.
Tero Pitkämäki, the most experienced of the trio, had led the proceedings until the fifth round of throws, when Ruuskanen threw 83.71 to eclipse Pitkämäki's best effort by 23 centimetres.
Then Mannio, the bronze medallist at this year's European Championships, woke up and hurled the javelin 84.62 to capture the lead (and incidentally, to surpass the Olympic gold medal-winning distance by a few centimetres), only for Ruuskanen to go flying past him to victory.
Ruuskanen was deservedly also rewarded as the games' best athlete.
Ari Mannio, too, could feel a certain pride in recovering from a rather disappointing appearance in the Olympic final, where he could do no better than 11th.
For Pitkämäki, however, third place was a huge disappointment - he has, after all, thrown more than 30 times over 88 metres, and was the World Champion in 2007.
Olli-Pekka Karjalainen, who may or may not be retroactively awarded European Championship and world Championship medals in the men's hammer (see earlier story) had little trouble in collecting his fifteenth successive Finnish title on Friday.
This is some feat, considering he is only 32 years of age, but his winning throw of 73.21 would not have secured him better than 11th place in the London final, and would not actually have been good enough even to progress to the final through the qualifying phase.
Regrettably, it was not only that the level of results in Lahti that left much to be desired, but also the standard of competition.
All too often, one athlete was so overwhelming that he or she did not have to exert himself unduly to win, leading one journalist to remark caustically that the public (the attendance over the three full days was 18,000) really only had cause to get excited over whether they would have time to nip out to buy a sausage before the runner-up reached the finish line.
It is to be hoped that the competition is more tangible when Finland and Sweden meet for the traditional Finnkampen encounter in Gothenburg next weekend.
The Swedes, who did not take any athletics medals in London, will be hoping to overturn the Finnish victories in the men's competition from 2010 and 2011, and will probably be expecting to extend their winning run in the women's competition to twelve years.
The Finnish women last triumphed in Helsinki in 2000, and have been soundly thrashed on the last two occasions.
Previously in HS International Edition:
All´s well that ends (reasonably) well for Finns at London 2012 (13.8.2012)
Hammer-thrower Olli-Pekka Karjalainen may still win a surprise gold medal - years after the IAAF European Championships in Gothenburg (24.8.2012)
Pielavesi turns out to celebrate local Olympic medallist Antti Ruuskanen (21.8.2012)
Finnkampen, the annual Finland-Sweden athletics international (Wikipedia)