OpinionProduct NewsFinland’s head coach sees no problem with banned for life coach Jarmo Riski

FasterSkier FasterSkierJanuary 17, 2007

Coach Jarmo Risk is banned for life from international competitions following the Finish team’s doping scandal in the 2001 Lahti Worlds. He is now the coach for World Cup leader Virpi Kuitunen. The Finnish head coach Magnar Dalen has no problem handling the dilemma.

– Jarmo Riski was not the main source for the doping scandal in Lahti, said Dalen to Skidsport on Tuesday.

Magnar Dalen was the head coach for Sweden when it was discovered that Finland had systematically doped its entire team. He was at that point very critical to Jarmo Riski and his colleagues in Finland.

– I was, at that time, critical to the Finnish system which had allowed doping of the entire team, but it was not directed toward Jarmo Riski as a person, says Dalen today.

Jarmo Riski has now been allowed to coach domestically — and to coach national team skiers. He is however not welcome at international events, where he continues to be banned for life.

Dalen was asked how his relationship is with Riski, since Riski is the personal coach for Finland’s two top female skiers Virpi Kuitunen and Aino Kaisa Sarinen, and Dalen is managing the same skiers in his role as head coach.

– We have a dialog and are communicating about everything regarding the skiers he is coaching, says Dalen

Former Swedish national team skier Torgny Mogren is very critical of allowing Jarmo Riski to continue his coaching. He has this to say:

– This is a coach who was a part of systematic doping. I would never in my life trust a person like that. It’s incredible that the skiers are buying his services.

Many agree with Mogren and question the fact that Riski is allowed to continue coaching.

All elite skiers have personal coaches, there is nothing strange in that. Jarmo Riski is a pure physiological coach, says Dalen.

-Can you as the head coach guarantee that doping doesn’t exist on today’s Finnish team?

I can’t guarantee individuals choices, I can however guarantee that it’s our goal that we have a doping free team, says Dalen.

Virpi Kuitunen has dominated this season and is the currant World Cup leader. Riski´s other skier, Kaisa Sarinen isn’t far behind in sixth place.

– Virpi being this dominating is probably more a result of the other top skiers like Bjorgen not being in their best shape at the moment.

Jarmo Riski is according to Kuitunen and Sarinen ”the Worlds best coach”. But his reputation will always haunt him, even if he has left his old method: making his athletes winners through doping.

Source: Skidsport.com

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