Font size bigger Font size smaller
Imagen
3073-Leo Pekka Tahti photo

Leo Pekka Tahti

Athletics
5
2

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T54

Further personal information

Occupation
Athlete
Languages
Finnish, Spanish

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began wheelchair racing at age 15.
Why this sport?
A sports enthusiast his whole life, he began playing wheelchair basketball as a boy. He became interested in wheelchair racing after taking part in a half marathon in May 1998.
Club / Team
Porin Tarmo: Finland
Name of coach
Juha Flinck [personal], FIN, from 2001

General interest

Nicknames
Lepe, Leksa, The Flying Finn (leopekkatahti.fi, 01 Sep 2018; paralympic.org, 28 Feb 2013)
Hero / Idol
Coach Juha Flinck. (paralympic.org, 21 Jun 2015)
Injuries
He required elbow surgery in August 2017. He returned to training two months later. (satakunnankansa.fi, 28 Nov 2017)

In mid-2015 he missed several weeks of training due to injuries and problems with his racing chair. (paralympic.org, 06 Jun 2016)
Awards and honours
In 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2011 he was named Para Athlete of the Year by the Finnish Amateur Athletic Association [SUL]. (yle.fi, 17 Dec 2018; leopekkatahti.fi, 01 Sep 2018; kestavyysurheilu.fi, 30 Nov 2017)

In 2016 he was named the Sports Personality of the Year by the Finland Sport Journalist Union. He became the first Para athlete to receive the award. (paralympic.org, 25 Jan 2017)

In 2012 he was named First Class Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland by the president of Finland. (Instagram profile, 06 Dec 2018; leopekkatahti.fi, 01 Sep 2018)

In 2012 he received the Moment of the Year Award from the Finnish Olympic Committee in recognition of the gold medal he won in the T54 100m at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (suomenurheilugaala.fi, 2016)

In 2012 he was flag bearer for Finland at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in London. (paralympic.org, 29 Aug 2012)
Other sports
He has played wheelchair basketball for the Nevsky Alliance team based in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, and for Velez-Malaga in Spain. (is.fi, 14 Sep 2019; andaluciaesdeporte.org, 16 Nov 2018; paralympic.org, 09 Sep 2015)
Ambitions
To win gold at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (yle.fi, 24 Mar 2020; sportshospital.com, 21 Dec 2020)
Impairment
He was born with paraplegia. (yle.fi, 12 Jan 2016)
Other information
FUTURE PLANS
He was considering retiring after the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, but said the postponement of the Games made him determined to continue competing beyond 2021. "At the moment [speaking in October 2020], it feels like it [Tokyo] may not be the end point for me. My results have been really good every year, I haven't had any big injuries and the motivation has been really good when it comes to training. Somehow I feel like I got even more hungry because of the coronavirus [pandemic]. In 2022, there will be the world championships, which will also be in Japan. From there it is not long before the next Paralympic Games in France. One year at a time, you never know what's going to happen." (mtvuutiset.fi, 21 Oct 2020; respecta.fi, 07 Oct 2020)

MEDIA ATTENTION
He says that after he won two gold medals at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens he initially struggled with the increased media attention. "At first, I didn't enjoy it at all. After Athens, publicity came from everywhere. Suddenly, everyone recognised you, there were invitations to events, and my face was on the cover of magazines. It was a strange feeling. I was really shy at the time, and with the publicity increase, I became even more reserved. Over the years, however, I began to get used to the publicity. I was getting more relaxed with the reporters and I learned to smile a little. However, I still don't like talking to strangers when I'm in public. I understand that people sincerely want to encourage me. Still, getting attention often feels stressful. Sometimes you feel paranoid. Imagining that everyone recognises you, although I'm sure they don't." (apu.fi, 21 Nov 2020)

BOOK
In 2020 his biography was released. The book was written by Finnish sports journalists Harri Laiho and Juha Luotola. "There aren't that many books about Para athletes. If someone identifies with the story of the book, then it's succeeded. The book contains details about my personal life that haven't been revealed before." (mtvuutiset.fi, 21 Oct 2020; respecta.fi, 07 Oct 2020)

WINTER BASE
He has spent the northern hemisphere winter months in Fuengirola, Spain, since 2008. "I first went to Vigo, I didn't understand the language. And the locals weren't too keen to speak English. Although the life is busy and training levels are insanely high, I like the lifestyle of the locals. They're a lot more relaxed." (is.fi, 14 Sep 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Athletics World Championships Villeneuve d'Ascq 2002 (Villeneuve d'Ascq, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Marathon T54 Final Round 26
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 200 m T54 Final Round 3
Men's 200 m T54 Heat 3 1
Men's 100 m T54 Final Round 1
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 3 1
IPC Athletics World Championships Assen 2006 (Assen, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T54 Final Round 3
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 1 3
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 2 1
Athens 2004 Paralympic Games (Athens, Greece)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 200 m T54 Final Round 1
Men's 200 m T54 Heat 3 1
Men's 100 m T54 Final Round 1
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 1 1
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 3 1
2011 IPC Athletics World Championships (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T54 Semifinal 1 2011-01-22 1
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 1 2011-01-22 1
Men's 100 m T54 Final 2011-01-23 1
Men's 200 m T54 Heat 2 2011-01-24 1
Men's 200 m T54 Semifinal 2 2011-01-25 3
Men's 200 m T54 Final 2011-01-26 2
Men's 400 m T54 Semifinal 1 2011-01-27 6
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 3 2011-01-27 2
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 2 2012-09-01 1
Men's 100 m T54 Final Round 2012-09-02 1
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 2 2012-09-05 4
Men's 400 m T54 Final Round 2012-09-07 4
IPC Athletics World Championships (Lyon, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 200 m T54 Semifinal 1 2013-07-23 3
Men's 200 m T54 Final 1 2013-07-24 2
Men's 100 m T54 Semifinal 1 2013-07-25 1
Men's 100 m T54 Final 1 2013-07-26 1
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 200 m T54 Heat 2 2015-10-22 4
Men's 200 m T54 Final 1 2015-10-22 6
Men's 100 m T54 Final 1 2015-10-25 2
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 3 2015-10-25 1
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 1 2015-10-27 14
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 3 2016-09-16 1
Men's 100 m T54 Final Round 2016-09-17 1
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T54 Heat 2 2017-07-14 1
Men's 100 m T54 Final 1 2017-07-14 1
Men's 200 m T54 Heat 1 2017-07-18 4
Men's 200 m T54 Final 1 2017-07-18 3
Men's 400 m T54 Heat 1 2017-07-19 9