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SUUR-HAMARI Matti
Sport Para snowboard
NPC Finland   
GenderMen
Age34
Place of BirthRovaniemi, FIN
Height1.75 m
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
SB-LL2
Further Personal Information
Residence
Imatra, FIN
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English, Finnish
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He first tried snowboarding in 1999, and took up Para snowboard in 2012.
Why this sport?
After his accident he was inspired to return to the sport after watching a video of US Para snowboarder Evan Strong performing tricks. Strong's left leg had also been amputated following a motorcycle accident. "The video lit a flame inside me. I thought that if he was able to do it, so could I."
Name of coach
Par Sundqvist
Senior International Debut
Year
2013
Competing for
Finland
General Interest
Nicknames
The Sledgehammer (paralympic.org, 18 Nov 2016)
Hobbies
BMX, listening to music, hiking, fly fishing, taking walks in nature, karting. (yle.fi, 30 Nov 2018; paralympic.org, 12 Nov 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a gold medal in adaptive snowboard cross at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, CO, United States of America. (Athlete, 10 Mar 2018)
Most influential person in career
Coach Mikko Wendelin. (Athlete, 10 Mar 2018)
Hero / Idol
Finnish distance runner Lasse Viren. (Athlete, 10 Mar 2018)
Injuries
In August 2020 he suffered a broken collarbone while mountain biking. He underwent surgery and was out of action for a month. (yle.fi, 25 Aug 2020)

In March 2020 he suffered what was described as a 'lower body injury' and missed the final World Cup event in Hafjell, Norway. (yle.fi, 11 Mar 2020)

He sustained an injury to his right arm while competing at the 2019 World Cup event in La Molina, Spain. He underwent surgery and was unable to compete at the 2019 World Championships in Pyha, Finland. (paralympic.org, 28 Mar 2019)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
"I always do things the same way before the race. I listen to the same songs, and I tell the same bad jokes to the coach." (hs.fi, 12 Mar 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Believe in yourself. Do not be afraid to aspire to big things." (hs.fi, 12 Mar 2016)
Awards and honours
He was flag bearer for Finland at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. He had carried out the same role at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. (pyeongchang2018.com, 09 Mar 2018; paralympic.org, 16 Mar 2014)

He was received the Snowboard Spectacle of the Year award at the 2016 Spine X Awards in Finland. (Instagram profile, 11 Jan 2021)
Milestones
He became the first Finnish snowboarder to win gold at the Paralympic Winter Games when he triumphed in snowboard cross at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang. (SportsDeskOnline, 21 Dec 2018; paralympic.org, 21 Jun 2018)
Impairment
In 2009 his left leg was amputated below the knee following a motorcycle accident. (Athlete, 10 Mar 2018; hs.fi, 12 Mar 2016)
Other information
TRIBUTE TO COACH
Mikko Wendelin, who had been his coach for six years, died in November 2019 of illness. "I'm so deeply heartbroken and can't believe this at all. I've been crying so much that there's no tears left anymore. I don't really have words now but trying to go forward step by step. It was an unbelievable journey with [Wendelin] and [he is] always in my heart wherever I go. When the gate drops I know [he] will be there with me." (Facebook page, 11 Jan 2021)

Competition Highlights (historical)
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
1 2014/2015 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
3 2014/2015 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 1:26.95
1 2016/2017 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
1 2016/2017 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 1:07.82
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
11 2014 Snowboardcross - Standing 1:59.56
1 2018 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
3 2018 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 49.51
World Cup Finals
Rank Year Event Result
1 2015/2016 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
1 2015/2016 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
2 2015/2016 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 54.62
1 2016/2017 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
2 2016/2017 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired  
5 2017/2018 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 1:03.80
5 2017/2018 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 2 Impaired 1:16.85