Got away with the horror in the wild: the Finnish biathlete Erika Jänkä. © IMAGO / Lehtikuva
What a nightmare: Finnish biathlete Erika Jänkä met two brown bears in training. Intuitively, however, the athlete behaved in the right way.
Kuhmo – Nature in Scandinavia can be breathtaking - often in a wonderful way, but rarely in a frightening way. At least that's what happened to Finnish biathlete Erika Jänkä, who encountered two real brown bears while training in the forest near Kuhmo, Finland. Fortunately, things went smoothly for the 27-year-old, who has been a member of the Finnish national biathlon team since 2020.
|Born:||23 November 1995 in Perho (Finland)|
|Member of the Finnish national biathlon team:||Since the 2020/21 season|
|Greatest successes:||46th place in the World Cup (sprint race, 2019/20) / 62nd place at the 2021 World Championships in Pokljuka / 73rd place at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2022|
Biathlete Jänkä encounters two brown bears during training, one reacts aggressively
The professional winter sports enthusiast told the Finnish newspaper Kuhmolainen about her heartbeat experience. She had been out and about in the forest with headphones on her ears when suddenly, just a few meters away, a brown bear appeared from the thicket. At first, he took no notice of the young woman, but only a few moments later a second bear appeared - and it was aggressive.
Jänkä explained that the animal switched to attack mode while she intuitively lay down on the ground. A decision – probably the only correct one, according to experts – that probably saved her life or at least saved her from more serious injuries. The brave Scandinavian woman told the newspaper that she "felt the bear on her feet" and she was already thinking about her end. But as suddenly as the second brown bear appeared, he quickly lost interest in his human counterpart and disappeared.
Biathlete Jänkä speaks out on Instagram after bear encounter
The fact that this special encounter made an understandably lasting impression on her is also described by Erika Jänkä on her Instagram channel afterwards: "Yesterday's encounter in nature will certainly leave a long and strong trail of memory or you could say: experiencing the fear of certain death is something you can't prepare for."
After all, she did not suffer any physical injuries, according to the athlete, who draws a moving conclusion: "I'm pretty speechless, but I'm grateful for the lessons I was able to learn from my life in nature and in encounters with animals. Thank you colleagues, family, friends - I am grateful for life." Meanwhile, a well-known biathlon couple recently celebrated a much more pleasant experience in France.