Managing time is crucial says four-time world champion Emmi Reenkola

Finland women's national cheerleading team grabbed its fourth consecutive world championship from the United States. According to team captain Emmi Reenkola, who studies at Haaga-Helia, combining study and top sports is easier than people think. It's all about managing your time.

Cheerleadingin nelinkertainen maailmanmestari Emmi Reenkola
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Finland women's cheerleading national team grabbed its fourth consecutive world championship. In the exciting final, Finland defeated the United States, which is considered to be one of the superpowers of the sport - and all this in front of their home crowd.

Haaga-Helia's student, Emmi Reenkola, has been the captain of the championship team since 2017. She believes that their success is a result of hard work, but also their low turnover and upstanding team spirit that literally exuded in their winning performance in Orlando.

- We work a lot not only for team spirit but also for our mental well-being. For example, we have mapped out the values ​​that are important to us, and searched for different ways to adapt sports better to our daily lives, she says.

Reenkola, studying in the Business Services Solutions and Languages ​​degree program, thinks combining study and top-level sports is much easier than people think. Often the study schedules at the universities are announced as much as six months in advance.

- Managing your time is key to everything. It helps a lot when you know in advance when something is happening. I often train in the mornings. After that, I go on campus to study and practice in the evening, she says.

According to her, Haaga-Helia's teachers have been really flexible and understanding, when it comes to combining studies and sport. Although, so far she has always managed to do things in time. Reenkola thinks that back in the day it must have been so much more difficult to combine education and top sports.

Finnish cheerleading is in full swing

Finnish cheerleading is currently in full swing. Awareness of the sport has grown with the championships, which has been reflected in the number of amateur cheerleaders in Finland. The sport has been growing at an annual rate of 5 percent for several years. 

There are currently around 12,000 people doing cheerleading in Finland.

According to Reenkola, success is also reflected in the professionalization of the sport. Cheerleading is finally getting support from the Olympic Committee, and the long-needed expertise that helps the top athletes to cope and maintain their ability to function is also there now.

- Nowadays, we have experts like physical and mental coaches, who help us to maintain our health and withstand pressure even in difficult situations. Also, the number of domestic competitions is clearly rising, she says.

Reenkola has been practicing cheerleading for about 13 years. Before that, she did gymnastics for six years. Her local club is the Funky Team in the Helsinki metropolitan area.

She is doing cheerleading for the club's representative team Wild Flyers.

Her inspirations are Maria Wahlroos, the head coach of the Finland women's cheerleading national team, and Sirpa Kaukonen, the coach of her home club Funky Team.  In general, she admits that she is inspired by strong and independent women, such as US Vice President Kamala Haris.

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