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Winter Olympics Profile: Finland

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The Republic of Finland, located in Northern Europe among the Nordic countries, is one of only two countries -- Sweden being the other -- to have earned medals at every Olympic Games since 1908 (both Summer and Winter).

The Finnish Olympic Committee has spent more than 5 million euros (more than $6 million) since the 2010 Winter Games in hopes of improving on its five-medal showing in Vancouver -- the fewest medals the country had earned in Winter Games competition since 1972.

Here's a look at Finland and its history in the Olympics:

Facts About Finland:

Location - Bordered by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north, Russia to the east and the Gulf of Finland to the south

Population - More than 5.4 million

Capital city - Helsinki (also the largest city in Finland)

Official languages - Finnish and Swedish

Currency used - Euro

President - Sauli Niinisto

Prime Minister - Jyrki Katainen

Olympic Facts About Finland:

All-Time Medal Count - Since 1908, Finland has won 458 medals between both Winter and Summer Games. A total of 156 of these medals have been earned in the Winter Olympics: 41 gold, 59 silver and 56 bronze. Many of Finland's medals have been won in Nordic skiing events, including 73 in cross-country skiing and 22 in ski jumping; Finland also has 24 medals in speed skating. Finland's best Winter Games in terms of medal count was 1984 in Sarajevo, when the team took home 13 medals (four gold, three silver and six bronze).

Olympic History - Finland competed in the first Winter Games in Chamonix, France in 1924, with its 17 athletes bringing home 11 medals, the country's third-best total in Winter Games competition; eight of those 11 medals came in speed skating events. Finland has medaled in every Winter Games in which it has participated, winning at least three medals in each.

Finland has never hosted a Winter Olympics, but did host the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki.

Top Winter Olympic Medal Winners:

Clas Thunburg - Competed in 1924 and 1928 Winter Games in speed skating; won seven medals (five gold, one silver and one bronze)

Veikko Hakulinen - Competed in 1952, 1956 and 1960 Winter Games in cross-country skiing; won seven medals (three gold, three silver and one bronze)

Eero Mantyranta - Competed in 1960, 1964 and 1968 Winter Games in cross-country skiing; won seven medals (three gold, two silver and two bronze)

Marja-Liisa Kirvesniemi - Competed in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1994 Winter Games in cross-country skiing; won seven medals (three gold, four bronze)

Matti Nykanen - Competed in 1984 and 1988 Winter Games in ski jumping; won five medals (four gold, one bronze)

Samppa Lajunen - Competed in 1998 and 2002 Winter Games in Nordic combined; won five medals (three gold, two silver)

Finnish Athletes to Watch - Sochi 2014:

Janne Ahonen - The 36-year-old ski jumper from Lahti will be competing in his sixth Winter Olympics after coming out of retirement for the second time in his career. Ahonen won silver medals in team large hill in 2002 (Salt Lake City) and 2006 (Turin), but has found much of his success in World Championship competition, winning 17 medals in individual and team competition in ski jumping and ski flying.

Teemu Selanne and the Finnish men's ice hockey team - The 43-year-old seemingly ageless hockey player will also compete in his sixth Winter Games, having won three medals in previous Games (silver - 2006; bronze - 1998 and 2010). Joining Selanne on the Finnish squad are numerous fellow NHLers, including his Anaheim Ducks teammate Sami Vatanen, goalies Antti Neimi, Kari Lehtonen and Tuukka Rask and defensemen Sami Salo and Kimmo Timonen.

Peetu Piiroinen - Finland's top snowboarder, who will turn 26 during the Games (February 15), won the silver medal in halfpipe in Vancouver in 2010 and picked up a bronze medal in slopestyle in the 2012 X-Games.

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