TV channel Nelonen: Finnish Ski Association covered up widespread doping in 1990s
According to the commercial Finnish television channel Nelonen’s news programme Nelosen Uutiset, the use of doping and covering it up was systematic within Finnish cross-country skiing in the 1990s.
The channel bases its claims on an inside source, who - if necessary - is willing to testify and share what he or she knows in a court of law.
Nelonen claims that it has detailed information regarding the cover-up of doping violations by the Finnish Ski Association in the 1990s.
The stories of plasma expanders, helium tents that mimic high-altitude conditions, and colostrum were created just to smokescreen the athletes’ use of EPO and growth hormone.
“Deep shock was the first emotion when I heard the latest accusations. They are that serious”, Jari Piirainen, the present managing director of the Finnish Ski Association (FSA) commented to Helsingin Sanomat.
In the 1990s Piirainen acted as the director of cross-country skiing within the Association. “If something like that happened, I was certainly kept in the dark about it.”
”I wish that this apparently very anguished person would come forward and tell what he or she knows. It is time for open dialogue. Also those accused should have a chance to express their views on these claims.”
Nelonen’s source wants to expose the system to the last detail. The person is fed up with the lying and covering up that has continued for decades.
In 1998 the Finnish News Agency (Suomen Tietotoimisto, STT) published a large news feature about doping, which resulted in a libel suit and sizeable damages payable to FSA representatives and others, later reduced on appeal.
According to the Nelonen source, when the STT news got out, a Finnish Ski Association representative moved some Russian-made Erythrost EPO hormone and French-made Humatrope growth hormone from one place of safe-keeping to another.
EPO increases the production of red blood cells, which in turn improves an athlete’s aerobic capacity and endurance. The growth hormone, in turn, speeds up recovery and increases strength.
At the 2001 Lahti World Championships, the Finnish cross-country skiers experienced a catastrophic mass bust, when six athletes were caught for using the Hemohes plasma expander and banned from competition for two years.
According to Nelonen there were enough doping agents to last for weeks, and they were meant for male skiers.
Nelonen also allegedly knows the name of the person who provided the substances.
Previously in HS International Edition:
MP Matikainen-Kallström calls for doping accusers to come forward (10.4.2008)
MP Marjo Matikainen-Kallström calls 1988 doping claims clear defamation of character (9.4.2008)
Kaisa Varis given lifetime ban by International Biathlon Union (12.2.2008)
Finnish skiers handed down two-year suspensions by Finnish Ski Association (23.4.2001)
B-sample of Kaisa Varis proves use of doping (14.3.2003)
Appeals Court reduces sentences in STT doping libel case (31.10.2000)