She had a very short but winning sporting career. In the six seasons she competed at a top international level, she won the World Cup three years in a row. At the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Matikainen-Kallström won a bronze medal in the relay aged just 19.
Four years later in Calgary she won bronze on the 10 km race, and in the 5 km sprint won gold after being in second place all race until the last kilometre before coming through to win, 1.3 seconds ahead of Tamara Tikhonova, who had to settle for silver. That same year she won another bronze medal in the relay.