Born in 1973 and growing up in Helsinki Finland, Jani Peltopuro always enjoyed participating in sports, particularly Ice Hockey and endurance training (inspired by his father, who ran marathons as a hobby). Always interested in the thrill of speed and racing, Jani fulfilled a boyhood dream when he purchased his first motorcycle. "I'd always dreamed of racing motorcycles, but that never really happened. In my first summer riding, I had a big crash and ended up paralyzed from the chest down at the age of 16".
Coming to terms with his disability, Jani (with the support of his friends and family) continued with his schooling, graduating with high grades a few years later. It was at school where Jani got his first experience of wheelchair racing, but decided to concentrate on his studies first before exploring the sport further, graduating from the Technical University in 1999 with a Master's Degree.
Jani's proper association with handcycling began in 2004. Immediately falling in love with the sport, his professional training started in 2009, with the aim of competing at the highest level possible. "I'm an enthusiastic person and I love to aim high, so as soon as I got my first handbike, I immediately wanted to do some racing. When I started, I had to lose weight to build my endurance. The main reason was for speed - I could go further and faster, not needing to stay close to home. When I went to my first international race in Heidelberg in 2009, I saw the level of competition was very high. This gave me the motivation to reach the top as it seemed so difficult. I love the challenge".
With the Finnish National Championships and 10 top finishes in World Cup Championships to his name, Jani is anxiously looking forward to his next challenge. "My passion is life. In good days and bad I just love life. I'm passionately interested in new things - and I love the thrill of speed in all its forms. So I just love the speed and feeling of liberty when cycling. I love being able to compete against able-bodied cyclists, and of course the feeling of being in great condition. For all of us wheelchair users, handcycling is the best way to build endurance and burn calories without getting problems in your hands or shoulders. It's just wonderful!"