Marjo Matikainen was one of the best Finnish female cross-country skiers of the 1980s besides Marja-Liisa Hämäläinen and was probably the best female skier in the World at the end of the 80s. Matikainen made her international début at the 1984 Winter Olympics, where she was 22nd in the 5 km and won a bronze as a member of Finnish relay team. Matikainen missed the 1985 World Championships, but competed at the 1987 World Championships, winning a 5K gold and a silver in the 10 km. At the 1988 Winter Olympics Maikainen won the 5 km race and earned bronzes in both the 10 km and relay. The high point of Matikainen’s career came at the 1989 World Championships, where she medaled in every distance in which she competed. She won golds in the 15 km classical style and relay, silver in the 10 km freestyle and bronzes in the 10 km classical style and 30 km freestyle. Matikainen also won the World Cup three years in a row between 1986 and 1988, was selected as the Finnish Athlete of the Year in 1986-87 and 1989 and was selected as the Finnish Female Athlete of the Year consecutively from 1986-89. After the 1989 World Championships Matikainen retired from sports, at only 24-years-old, and concentrated on her studies in political science at the Helsinki University of Technology. From 1996-2004 Matikainen was a member of the European Parliament, and in 2004 she was elected to the Finnish Parliament (Etuskunda).