TheLegend statue depicts Juha Mieto, a legendary cross-country skier and many-time medallist from Kurikka. In addition to his Olympic and World Championship medals, Juha Mieto is best remembered for his loss to Sweden’s Thomas Wassberg by one hundredth of a second at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics on 17 February 1980. Another well-known story about Mieto comes from the Innsbruck Olympics in 1976. At the 50-kilometre race, Mieto helped another skier, Bill Koch, on the last uphill of the route by pushing Koch from the back until he gathered enough strength to make it to the top.
In 1985, Mieto was awarded a prestigious fair play price by CIFP (Comite International pour le Fair Play). In its grounds for the recognition, the organisation mentioned the assistance Mieto gave to Koch and the Lake Placid loss when Mieto was the first to congratulate Wassberg. When they hear Mieto’s name, people often also remember the World Championships in Falun in 1974. Mieto took part in the 30 km race skied in wet weather, which was Mieto’s favourite conditions, but he lost to Sweden’s Thomas Magnusson, who used modern glass fibre skis, while Mieto still had wooden skis.
After his sports career, Mieto entered politics and served as a member of parliament.
The statue was designed by sculptor Pekka Jylhä. He drew his inspiration for the statue from Mieto’s performance in the 50 km race at Lahti’s World Championships in 1978. Forests and ski trails transformed Mieto into a hero and gave him strong character. The statue in its entirety reaches a height of four metres. Its base, which is lit from the inside, is made of stainless steel painted green, and the actual statue is made of polished bronze.