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Third Generation Olympian

By Brandon Hofstra, 02/09/18, 1:00PM CST


Peltonen name stays strong in Olympic Games

Ralston, NE — With the 2018 Olympic games starting this week, families will start to come together to watch their nations try for gold. For some, this is a time where showing your patriotism means a lot more. The battle for gold, bragging rights on who is the best of them all. But for some, it is a chance to see the family name continue to build on its legacy. And for Jesper and Aleksi Peltonen, they know that feeling well. 

Jesper and Aleksi, twin brothers who have a colorful background in the world of hockey along with ties to the NHL and the Olympic games. Their father and grandfather wore the Peltonen name strong and have a rich history in the Olympic games.

“Our whole family is about skating,” said Jesper Peltonen. “We learned how to skate by figure skating. Our Mom figure skated until she was twenty, she had a big part in our skating, so did our dad and grandfather.”

Esa Peltonen, the grandfather of Aleksi and Jesper, was inducted into the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990. Esa played as many as 277 games for the Finnish National team. His 93 goals in a single season are the second best in Finnish ice hockey history (Lasse Oksanen 101). Esa Peltonen represented the Finnish national team in four Olympic Tournaments (1968, 1972, 1976 and 1980). He played in 11 World Championships (1976-78). He was also on the Finnish team at the inaugural Canada Cup in 1976. 

“He played in the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid where we went to prep school,” Jesper said. “So it has a special place in our hearts.”

Their father, Ville Peltonen, has played not only in the NHL but had four showings in the Olympics for team Finland. Ville is one of the best in the history of the Finnish national team with13 World Championships, 4 Olympic tournaments, 2 World Cups. In those tournaments, he scored 108 points (46 Goals 62 Assists), which is by far the best in Finland. As is his 13 medals in those 19 tournaments. Ville made stops in the NHL for multiple teams including; Nashville, San Jose, and Florida. Ville proudly has 4 Olympic Medals, 3 bronze, and 1 silver.

“He’s been a big part of everything we’ve done and how we do it,” Alexsi said. 

This year though, the Peltonen twins won’t be looking up to their father or grandpa in the Olympic games. It’ll be their younger sister, Emmi they will be watching. 

“I cannot even describe how proud I am of her. She’s put so much hard work into it, it is amazing,” Jesper said.

Peltonen received her first skates when she was two years old and began learning to skate in 2002.[1][2] She began competing at the advanced novice level at international events in the 2011–2012 season. She won the novice gold medal at the 2013 Nordic Championships. Peltonen debuted on the junior international level in the 2013–2014 season. She won the junior silver medal at the Finnish Championships and Nordic Championships, both times finishing second to Jenni Saarinen. Virpi Horttana coached Peltonen at Espoo Skating Club in Espoo, Finland. Her ISU Junior Grand Prix(JGP) debut came in August 2014; she finished 9th at her assignment in Courchevel, France. Competing on the senior level at the Finnish Championships, she placed 8th in the short program, 4th in the free skate, and 4th overall.

In 2015–2016, Peltonen was coached by Sirkka Kaipio in Helsinki and Järvenpää, and by Rafael Arutyunyan in California. She placed 15th at her sole JGP assignment, in Linz, Austria. Making her senior international debut, Peltonen placed 10th at the Finlandia Trophy, a Challenger Series (CS) event in October 2015. She did not compete at the Finnish Championships in December but took the junior bronze medal at the Nordic Championships a couple of months later.

During the summer, Peltonen trained with Arutyunyan in California.[2] In August, she placed 5th at her JGP assignment in Saint Gervais-Les-Bains, France. She then competed at several senior internationals, finishing 12th at the CS Finlandia Trophy, 14th at the Volvo Open Cup, and 6th at the CS Warsaw Cup.
In December 2016, Peltonen won the senior gold medal at the Finnish Championships in Tampere,[4]having outscored silver medalist Jenni Saarinen by eight points. She was named in Finland's team to the 2017 European Championships in Ostrava.[5] Ranked 14th in the short program and 9th in the free skate, she finished 11th overall in the Czech Republic.

Peltonen competed at the 2017 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, but did not advance to the free skate, having placed 29th in the short program.In September 2017, Finland qualified a spot in the ladies' event at the 2018 Winter Olympics, due to Viveca Lindfors' result at the 2017 CS Nebelhorn Trophy. In December, Peltonen won her second consecutive national title, finishing ahead of the silver medalist (Lindfors) by a margin of 4.22 points.

“I'm so happy for her to get to live her dream,” Aleksi said.

In January, Peltonen placed 11th in the short program, 8th in the free skate, and 9th overall at the 2018 European Championships in Moscow, Russia; she was Finland's top lady at the event, finishing 11 points ahead of Lindfors. On 24 January 2018, the Finnish Olympic Committee selected Peltonen to compete at the Olympics. 

“Its a really big deal for our family to have a third-generation Olympian,” Jesper said

The Lady’s Single Skating competition starts on Sunday, February 11th. To learn more about Emmi Peltonen in this year's Olympic games click here.

“Good Luck, kill it, don’t be scared to be nervous,” Aleksi said.

“We are so proud of you, we can’t wait to see what you can achieve there,” Jesper said.

What's Next:

Lancers: Face the Dubuque Fighting Saints Friday, February 9th at Ralston Arena (7:05 p.m. CT; News Talk 1290 AM, Hockey TV). The Lancers then travel to Sioux Falls to face the Stampede on Saturday, February 10th. Omaha will return home to face the Des Moines Buccaneers on Sunday, February 11th at 5:05 pm.

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