The Finnish news source YLE reports that the former Director of Cross-Country Skiing for the Finnish Ski Association has admitted that the organization bought blood-thinning substances for members of the Finnish national team at the 2001 World Championships.
This supports the accusations of former national team head coach Kari-Pekka KyrÃ¶ and comes after the newspaper HELSINGIN SANOMAT reported that KyrÃ¶ also implicated the Finnish anti-doping agency – charges that were vigorously denied.
FasterSkier reader Vesa Suomalainen posted an extremely useful comment on an <earlier article, providing some background info on the doping investigation in Finland.
Vesa's comment is reprinted below:
A bit of background may be helpful to put this news in perspective.
Kari-Pekka Kyro was the Finnish ski team head coach during the Lahti 2001 doping scandal and was levied a fine by the Finnish justice system for illegal importation of doping substances. A couple of other coaches were also investigated, but there wasn't enough evidence for a conviction. Mr Kyro did not aid his own case as he forgot a bag containing doping items (plasma expander Hemohes) at a Finnish gas station during the Lahti games which was picked up by the police.
Mr Kyro was banned for life from acting in any official capacity in the sport of cross-country skiing. That did not stop him from acting as a friend and/or personal coach for Kaisa Varis who got caught twice for EPO – first in the 2003 Val Di Femme world champs for cross-country skiing and, after serving a 2-year ban, this winter at a world cup event in biathlon.
The reason the Finnish justice system is interested in investigating Mr Kyro's allegations about Finnish ski team doping in the 1990's is a related court case from 1998 where two Finnish news agency (STT) editors were levied fines for incorrect reporting after they published a news story alleging doping related activities in the Finnish ski team. The prosecutor general's office wants to investigate whether justice was not served in that case – that is the specific angle of their involvement.
Many news stories have speculated why Mr Kyro is bringing out these allegations and why now. One story suggests that he may be bitter about having been the only one that had to pay the price for what he alleges was a team effort from the coaching staff (6 athletes were caught for doping in 2001 but Kyro was the only staff member that was penalized).
There have been no suggestions by Mr Kyro or others that doping in the Finnish ski team has continued since the Lahti scandal – other than the case of Ms Varis which appears to be connected back to Mr Kyro.
The latest revelations could significantly impact the investigation into the fining of the Finnish News Agency editors mentioned above.
Read the entire YLE story:
Ex-Director Admits Ski Association Bought Blood Thinner
Read the recent Helsingin Sanomat story:
Finland’s Antidoping Agency rejects coach’s allegations
Previous on FasterSkier:
Former Finnish Coach Accuses Finnish Ski Association of Orchestrating Doping
Sources: YLE.fi, Helsingin Sanomat