Petter Kukkonen is a former Nordic combined athlete and current Finnish national team head coach whose search for the next big thing in his life following athletic retirement led him to write a 750-page novel about one athlete’s story in Ancient Greece.
Almost 15 years of research and writing recently came into completion when his book was published (in Finnish) with the title “Oliivipuut eivät koskaan kuole” (Olive trees never die).
Check out the book (in Finnish) here.
This episode explores both the story in the book and the story behind the book. Petter talks about his athletic retirement and the emptiness following it, as well as how he found his new ‘thing’ in studying history and writing. He talks about how he organised his life in training camps and competition seasons to include times of concentrated writing, and the joy of completing the story in the book that occupied him for over a decade.
We also explore the context of his book, the main character, and similarities and differences in the cultural significance and practices of sport in Ancient Greece and today.
You can follow Petter on Twitter @PetterKukkonen.