MP Matikainen-Kallström calls for doping accusers to come forward
Nelonen stands by story of EPO sighting in 1988
Member of Parliament Marjo Matikainen-Kallström (Nat. Coalition Party) hopes that those accusing her of having been in possession of a doping substance in 1988 would come forward promptly with their claims.
“I can only wonder at the allegations. I cannot begin to comprehend what this is all about. I just hope that those making these claims will now come forward”, Matikainen-Kallström told Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday afternoon.
The television channel Nelonen’s news programme Nelosen Uutiset claimed on Tuesday night that a small glass bottle with a label stating that it contained EPO hormone, which is a banned substance in sports, would have been seen in Matikainen’s room during a national ski team training camp in November 1988. EPO was banned even in the late 1980s.
The Nelonen channel says it is in possession of affidavits from two former national ski team members, in which they confirm what they saw on Matikainen’s table. Nelonen does not claim that Matikainen would have used forbidden performance-enhancing substances.
Matikainen-Kallström told Helsingin Sanomat that she has not considered any kind of measures against Nelonen as yet. “Let’s first see what this is all about. Sure, I have all kinds of things going through my mind, but I do not want to start any kind of speculations just yet.”
Can you still swear you have never used forbidden substances?
“Yes I can. Absolutely.”
According to Nelosen Uutiset, the glass bottle labelled as containing EPO was seen on the table in Matikainen’s room a month before the 1989 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, where Matikainen won five medals, two of which were gold. One of the gold medals came from the individual 15 kilometre race and the other one from the relay.
According to the editor-in-chief Eero Hyvönen, Nelosen Uutiset continue to stand by the claims that a phial of something marked "Erythropoietin" was seen on Marjo Matikainen’s table during the national ski team training camp in 1988.
When asked what it really means that Nelonen has affidavits from two members of the then national ski team that there was an EPO bottle in Matikainen’s room, Hyvönen replies: “In this case it means that these individuals are willing to give up their source anonymity and, if needed, give testimony in court.”
Do you still stand behind the story, and did you seek legal advice before going public with it?
“Yes, we stand behind it, and yes, we did practice due journalistic consideration and used legal counselling before releasing the story."
Hyvönen refuses to reveal whether the people who have given the affidavits were other skiers or members of the service team.
The former head coach of the Finnish Ski Association, Immo Kuutsa, is astounded that people would start spreading such rumours.
“Marjo was such a gifted athlete. She would have never needed such substances. Already in 1984 at the Olympics in Sarajevo, Marjo, who was just 18 at the time, was part of the relay team that won the bronze medal. Marjo was the second or third fastest skier on her leg”, Kuutsa points out.
Previously in HS International Edition:
MP Marjo Matikainen-Kallström calls 1988 doping claims clear defamation of character (9.4.2008)