Doping in XC skiing

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Sep 22, 2010
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Libertine Seguros said:
I saw this thread title, thought of the words "Johann Mühlegg", and got miserable. His Salt Lake Olympics performances made Sella at the '08 Giro look like your average Moncoutié show.
The crazy part is that he had really bad skis that day, Ole E. Bjoerndalen had no problem gliding past him down the slopes, but on the way up he was a monster...

Johann even said to Ole and his Wife the day before the race that: "NOW, it's going to be quick". With a quirky smile I believe...

Atrocious...
 
Jul 3, 2009
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Tyler'sTwin said:
Ah, Mühlegg... Definitely the most ridiculous performances I've seen in that sport. Perhaps in any sport.

Check out the 30k.

Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0VSvLqoYbM

Part 2 (the picture sorts itself out after 30s)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z8qe7YWDOQ

Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgrMftpz3WA

Part 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LXvIwSxcsA
lol, he put 25s into the chasers over 1900m... He went flat out right from the start. Ole Einar and Eloffson tried to match his pace but blew up?

What did he test positive for?
 
Jul 5, 2010
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RdBiker said:
Finnish XC-skiing head coach between 1998-2001 (Kari-Pekka Kyrö) has accused Norwegians, Italians and Russians of having been well learned in the use of EPO and blood doping in the 90's - at least a few years ahead of other nations. He states that no medalist in the 90's was clean. According to him the Winter Olympics 1994 in Lillehammer were the dirtiest in the history of sport.

I take the "few years ahead" with a grain of salt since he is afrer all Finnish, but otherwise he should know what he's talking about - after all he was overseeing the use of EPO in the Finnish national team (98-2001)
Sweden won practically NOTHING during the whole nineties (Mogren in '93) and Norway was supposed to have technological advantage from 9x-98 at least by having stone grinded skis. So Sweden was like the french in TdF ;)
First beyond 2000 we got some skiers who could win, I believe it was due to EPO-testing and the Festina-scandal.

So if we look who won medals during the nineties we see a whole lotta dopers. Hoffman, Myllälä, Lazutina.

Elofsson would have never, ever won any medals if he had competed during the nineties! (He the WC-opener during 98-99 season actually, but the doping is centered towards championships)

Kyrö could be half-right ofc. Would have been interesting to see retro-active testing of 90's XC-skiers. Probably there was some blood among all the EPO coursing through their veins.
 
Excellent posts on this thread. Another big XC ski person here. Back years ago I was into it more than cycling. This past Olympics had some very exciting races that helped boost the sport I think.

Before the Vancouver Olympics Justin Wadsworth said there was probably 100% doping use at one time or another in XC skiing. And he was a coach of the US team! But he seemed to believe it was at least cleaner than in years past. While XC Skiing has had many doping issues, but it does seem to at least be a little more controlled, and not nearly as directly complicit as the UCI. Not saying much, but at least it's something.

Those who have never competed in XC skiing should watch the first 1:30 of this video. The climb up Val di Flemme shows just how grueling it is. If you miss the days where cyclists fell off their bikes with exhaustion compared the the fresh-as-a-daisy days they have now, you'll love this.

Johann Mühlegg came up hot for Darbepoetin, which at the time was so new it wasn't even on the banned list. Initially the IOC let it slide, but CAS ruled against ALL of his medal wins. What was so ironic about that year is that while it's likely several of those he beat were doped, he was so jacked it completely ruined the events.
 
Jun 21, 2009
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Cloxxki said:
As I'm opening my eyes these months, I fail to see why XC should have been any cleaner than cycling, and that is apart from this interesting investigation.
there are a number of reasons i guess, one being that the material differences in skiing make a huge difference and the norwegian authorities couldn't throw enough money at their skiers in preperation for the '94 olympics. That could make enough of a difference to not need doping.
on the other hand daehlie's unbelievable Vo2max score can't be explained through superior materials

Cloxxki said:
Perhaps the Norwegians are just better at not getting caught, rather than being oh so hardcore and just plain training harder, and sleeping longer.
that could be the reason yes :) but during the period where i believe norwegian skiers may have doped (the '90s) NO ONE were caught.

Cloxxki said:
Oh, and Johann Olaf Koss (speed skater) studied medicine, he's be stupid not to know all about EPO. Was it 1994 he won all? :)
let's not forget that koss was taught a few lessons just a few weeks before the '94 olympics, using the worlds or euro champs as a warm-up, pretty much like contador/armstrong/whoever at the dauphine.

was not his first wife also caught for PEDs?

Cloxxki said:
Heralded charity guy now, a save the world and our kids guy. Sounds eerily familiar.
also has a couple of broken marriages behind him, rumours have it he is a bit of a wife beater too. The similarities :eek:

Cloxxki said:
why would those Norwegians hang out in the US so often in the off-season? Darn, I am slowly but surely getting the hang of this...to give some blood for the upcoming local world cups and olympics, of course! :)
to my knowledge they haven't spent a second there this summer. except northug who went to vegas to play poker.
 
Jun 21, 2009
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Ferminal said:
lol, he put 25s into the chasers over 1900m... He went flat out right from the start. Ole Einar and Eloffson tried to match his pace but blew up?
elofsson not only blew up on the day, he pushed himself so hard to stay with mühlegg that he never recovered and had to retire :eek: at least that's what is believed by many, including elofsson himself.

i watched an interview with bjoerndalen last year though, asked about mühlegg's performance in that 30k he said he "never suspected a thing"

and why did he not see the performance as at least a bit suspect?

"i know how good bjoern (daehlie) was at his best and he would have stayed with mühlegg on that day" :eek::eek: :rolleyes:
 
He just didn't want to sound like sour grapes, when it's obvious to everyone he doesn't need to answer.

Mühlegg's performance in that race was quite possibly the most doped up performance in sports history. It's more remarkable than Marco's 1999 Giro, Riis dropping everyone like flies on the Hautecam, Festina's 1998 Romandie, Floyd's ride over the Joux Plane, etc. At least those made you wonder while admiring. This was downright laughable, if it weren't so disgusting.
 
Jun 21, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
He just didn't want to sound like sour grapes, when it's obvious to everyone he doesn't need to answer.
did ole tell you this personally?

the quote is from last winter, why claim someone would have been able to follow mühlegg if there is no way this someone would've had no chance? bjoerndalen has of course done a lot of training with daehlie and been dropped in the same way mühlegg dropped him in this race.

nice touch that number two and three in this 30k have also been heavily linked to doping

Alpe d'Huez said:
Mühlegg's performance in that race was quite possibly the most doped up performance in sports history. It's more remarkable than Marco's 1999 Giro, Riis dropping everyone like flies on the Hautecam, Festina's 1998 Romandie, Floyd's ride over the Joux Plane, etc. At least those made you wonder while admiring. This was downright laughable, if it weren't so disgusting.
thanks for the lecture
 
Sep 25, 2009
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i mentioned before that i'm much more of a xc skier nowadays than a cyclist. i follow the sport's both from a competitive and anti-doping angles. the thing is, fis lead all international federations in fighting blood doping. they were the first to introduce the hct/hg limit and the equivalent of blood passport. fis is also far more transparent than the uci. they are both realistic and tough on doping. realistic, b/c they use a 'no-start' rule in stead of the uci's aaf suspensions when blood profiling can't give a certain answer. tough, b/c they don't split hairs over bs like the uci and can disqualify entire federations when warranted, like they have threatened to the russians.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
He just didn't want to sound like sour grapes, when it's obvious to everyone he doesn't need to answer.

Mühlegg's performance in that race was quite possibly the most doped up performance in sports history. It's more remarkable than Marco's 1999 Giro, Riis dropping everyone like flies on the Hautecam, Festina's 1998 Romandie, Floyd's ride over the Joux Plane, etc. At least those made you wonder while admiring. This was downright laughable, if it weren't so disgusting.
Indeed. His technique was so horrible it actually hurt to watch. It was as if he simply had too much energy to even care about technique, all he was thinking about was to get to use most of that never-ending energy and it didn't matter if he wasted some of it.
 
Jun 22, 2010
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Some you wonder if the second and third place skiers in that race were doped. Yes they were. Well, at least Hoffman is implicated right now in a doping affair. Don't know if he'll lose his medal from that race but we'll see. Botvinov, hard to say, but probably wouldn't be a surprise at this point. I never really wondered how many people were doped in XC in the 90's. I am guessing there was quite a few, but there must have been a decent number of skiers who were clean (North Americans, for example). Russians, Finns, Austrians, and the Italians have always been linked to some sort of doping or have tested positive for various substances. It's just a little annoying to watch the Norwegians with their high class, arrogant, attitudes pointing fingers at everyone and supposedly being angry at the 'dopers,' when in fact most of their national team is now all of a sudden on prohibited asthma medication. Plus, Norway's best female skier, Marit Bjorgen, looks like she could lift the world. There is something very suspicious about her, yet all of this goes by the wayside, mostly due to the fact that these are after all Norwegians, and not even God can touch them or possibly accuse of them of doping!
 
BullsFan22 said:
...when in fact most of their national team is now all of a sudden on prohibited asthma medication. Plus, Norway's best female skier, Marit Bjorgen, looks like she could lift the world. There is something very suspicious about her, yet all of this goes by the wayside, mostly due to the fact that these are after all Norwegians, and not even God can touch them or possibly accuse of them of doping!
Well, it's not doping when it's legal. And salbutamol has little to no effect on people who do not have asthma. A danish research came to the conclusion just recently that salbutamol has no performance enhancing effects on a healthy person.
 
Jun 22, 2010
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maltiv said:
Well, it's not doping when it's legal. And salbutamol has little to no effect on people who do not have asthma. A danish research came to the conclusion just recently that salbutamol has no performance enhancing effects on a healthy person.
I am not buying that. I would be more impressed had it been a German research or a UK research that came to that conclusion. Scandinavian bias is probably the most justified conclusion that I would get from that, IMO. It's more than asthma meds that are in question. It's the nitpicking of races and doing well in them. That was what Muehlegg was doing back in 2000-2002. He was somewhere out in the goonies, kind of like Rasmussen and then just showed up and won three races. I remember the commentators saying that he was on some sort of 'special diet' with a lot of vegetables, and that is probably the reason his face looked all out of color, lol. Yeah, maybe so. Anyway, I try not to think of who is doping and who isn't in XC skiing, although sometimes it is pretty easy to pick them out, even if they are not caught.
 
May 26, 2009
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Tyler'sTwin said:
Ah, Mühlegg... Definitely the most ridiculous performances I've seen in that sport. Perhaps in any sport.

Check out the 30k.
Hah Mühlegg! There's a guy I wouldn't like to remember. I didn't understand a lot about doping back then but his performance (especially in the 30K) made me laugh. And it wasn't a surprise he got busted soon after.
 
May 26, 2009
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Tubeless said:
I've also heard the rumor about Matikainen and the EPO container in 1988 - but there never was any corraboration. There's a court case going on in Finland right now regarding the Finnish ski team's doping and subsequent reporting by the Finnish news agency STT in the late 1990's; just this week the prosecutors decided to indict 4 people (3 former team manages / coaches and 1 former athlete), Matikainen was also investigated but it was decided that there was not enough evidence to charge her.
True.
Kyrö also accused Matikainen of blood-doping but said he didn't have first-hand knowledge of it. Instead he had heard it from a previous national team coach who had been head coach when Matikainen raced. The guy is one of the 4 people indicted in the court case.

I'm waiting for the court case to begin since then they should release all the documents related to the investigation leading to the 4 people being indicted. Even with all the news articles about the case no where have I found when the case is set to begin...
 
Oct 30, 2010
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RdBiker said:
True.
Kyrö also accused Matikainen of blood-doping but said he didn't have first-hand knowledge of it. Instead he had heard it from a previous national team coach who had been head coach when Matikainen raced. The guy is one of the 4 people indicted in the court case.

I'm waiting for the court case to begin since then they should release all the documents related to the investigation leading to the 4 people being indicted. Even with all the news articles about the case no where have I found when the case is set to begin...
Court case begins most likely in february before the Nordic World Ski Championships 2011 in Holmenkollen. No official date is decided, since district courts are in backlog at the moment.

According to Kyrö there were three separate "EPO -circles" in 90's: Italy, Russia and Norway. Finland then received it's EPO know-how from Russia. Autologous blood doping has a long history in Finland. It was used by long distance runners in the seventies and most like also by xc skiers. To my understanding Finland was one of the pioneers in blood doping and spread know-how to Italy in early to mid eighties. According to Alessandro Donati the reason why finnish coaches were hired to Italy, was to receive more information and knowledge about autologous blood doping. Conconi then developed this procedure. Donati has also said that EPO was used already in 1988 (in cycling and running).
 
Very interesting thread! I don't really know much about the subject, but I remember being horrified by a class mate telling me about blood doping, and how it was undetectable. Trying to remember when, it must have been sometime between 1985 and 88. He was talking about Sovjet and the DDR. At that time, I wouldn't have believed it if anyone implicated norwegian athletes, but now I'm not so sure..does anyone know if there is something concrete against Dæhlie and Ulvang? Thinking back, in the late eighties norwegians weren't really dominating, but then in the early nineties, that changed.
 
I live in the US and was born in the US, but am of Scandinavian descent. My grandmother spoke Norwegian, my mom some. Sadly, I speak about 10 words of it.

Good post Python.

workingclasshero said:
did ole tell you this personally?
You really think that? Or are you just mouthing off being a smart a** to an admin to see what it will get you?

I was giving the guy the benefit of the doubt for taking the high road.
thanks for the lecture
If you think I'm lecturing you then I have to wonder what you expect of this forum. Seriously.
 
Oct 30, 2010
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Tapio Wideman and Ingard Leirem collected and analyzed skiers' blood samples from late 80's to 2002. Leirem has said that no Nordic (swedish, norwegian or finnish) skiers used epo in 1990's. Neither they used blood doping. According to Leirem the blood samples collected so no sigs of blood doping. He especially mentioned that Marjo Matinkainen's blood samples so no signs of autologous blood doping.

http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=fi&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=fi&tl=en&u=http://yle.fi/urheilu/lajit/hiihtolajit/hiihto/2008/10/lereim_matikainen-kallstrom_ei_kayttanyt_epoa_1316358.html

I find Leirem's statements hard to believe. For example Mika Myllylä has admitted using epo during his career. And also the blood samples were collected after competitions. Skiers were not tested during off season or during training camps in high altitude. Out of competition testing was very rare for long time.
 
BullsFan22 said:
I am not buying that. I would be more impressed had it been a German research or a UK research that came to that conclusion. Scandinavian bias is probably the most justified conclusion that I would get from that, IMO.
Why is that? That does not even make any sense. Denmark is not involved in XC skiing at all. They have about as many professional skiers as Egypt.

You may believe whatever you want, but nonetheless, a substance which no one yet has managed to prove that is performance enhancing is probably not making much difference at the end of the day.
 
May 23, 2010
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MustIski said:
Court case begins most likely in february before the Nordic World Ski Championships 2011 in Holmenkollen. No official date is decided, since district courts are in backlog at the moment.

According to Kyrö there were three separate "EPO -circles" in 90's: Italy, Russia and Norway. Finland then received it's EPO know-how from Russia. Autologous blood doping has a long history in Finland. It was used by long distance runners in the seventies and most like also by xc skiers. To my understanding Finland was one of the pioneers in blood doping and spread know-how to Italy in early to mid eighties. According to Alessandro Donati the reason why finnish coaches were hired to Italy, was to receive more information and knowledge about autologous blood doping. Conconi then developed this procedure. Donati has also said that EPO was used already in 1988 (in cycling and running).
It is believed that the early pioneer for autologous blood doping was Finnish 4-time Olympic gold medalist, 5,000 and 10,000 meter runner Lasse Viren. He was one of the earliest athletes that listed a doctor (Dr Pekka Peltokallio) as part of his support staff. Viren won his medals in 1972 and 1976. Blood doping wasn't even illegal back then - it became a banned method in 1985.

It is also widely speculated that the Finnish ski team picked up the blood doping knowledge from their running colleagues. It's a small country where most coaches know one another. Again, there's no public confirmation from anyone but it is believed that the Finnish ski team was using autologous blood doping at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, possibly earlier.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-country_skiing_at_the_1984_Winter_Olympics

The Finnish coach who's believed to have transferred the blood doping knowledge to Italy is Jarmo Punkkinen who served as the Italian head coach from 1984 to 1990. Italians became a major force in cross-country skiing during the 1990's.

So it should surprise no one that once EPO came along, there were many teams "prepared" to jump on board. As in cycling, it's hard to believe any cross-country skier medalist in world champs or Olympics in the 1990's was clean.

Muehlegg's performance in the 2002 race is a perfect example that autologous blood doping is no match for a good EPO boost - the 2nd and 3rd place skiers (Hoffman and Bovinov of Austria) are both known blood dopers and the Olympic race organizers found used blood bags and syringes in the trash for the Austrian team accomodations, and were most likely aided by an extra blood bag each.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/olympics/2002/news/2002/03/01/blood_probe_ap/
 
May 23, 2010
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RdBiker said:
True.
Kyrö also accused Matikainen of blood-doping but said he didn't have first-hand knowledge of it. Instead he had heard it from a previous national team coach who had been head coach when Matikainen raced. The guy is one of the 4 people indicted in the court case.

I'm waiting for the court case to begin since then they should release all the documents related to the investigation leading to the 4 people being indicted. Even with all the news articles about the case no where have I found when the case is set to begin...
There's little doubt that Matikainen doped (autologous blood boost), but I have no seen or heard any references that EPO would have been around in the skiing circles that early - in 1988. What's the first known use of EPO in pro cycling?

US FDA approved the first EPO drug, Epogen in 1989 - so it would seem consistent that EPO doping started sometime around 1990.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythropoietin
 
Jul 6, 2010
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zapata said:
Very interesting thread! I don't really know much about the subject, but I remember being horrified by a class mate telling me about blood doping, and how it was undetectable. Trying to remember when, it must have been sometime between 1985 and 88. He was talking about Sovjet and the DDR. At that time, I wouldn't have believed it if anyone implicated norwegian athletes, but now I'm not so sure..does anyone know if there is something concrete against Dæhlie and Ulvang? Thinking back, in the late eighties norwegians weren't really dominating, but then in the early nineties, that changed.
Speed skating's more my alternate sport than XC - check out Koss's meteoric rise in performance and when it happened. Same timeline as the XC guys...
 
Mar 4, 2010
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Tubeless said:
It is believed that the early pioneer for autologous blood doping was Finnish 4-time Olympic gold medalist, 5,000 and 10,000 meter runner Lasse Viren. He was one of the earliest athletes that listed a doctor (Dr Pekka Peltokallio) as part of his support staff. Viren won his medals in 1972 and 1976. Blood doping wasn't even illegal back then - it became a banned method in 1985.

It is also widely speculated that the Finnish ski team picked up the blood doping knowledge from their running colleagues. It's a small country where most coaches know one another. Again, there's no public confirmation from anyone but it is believed that the Finnish ski team was using autologous blood doping at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo, possibly earlier.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-country_skiing_at_the_1984_Winter_Olympics

The Finnish coach who's believed to have transferred the blood doping knowledge to Italy is Jarmo Punkkinen who served as the Italian head coach from 1984 to 1990. Italians became a major force in cross-country skiing during the 1990's.

So it should surprise no one that once EPO came along, there were many teams "prepared" to jump on board. As in cycling, it's hard to believe any cross-country skier medalist in world champs or Olympics in the 1990's was clean.

Muehlegg's performance in the 2002 race is a perfect example that autologous blood doping is no match for a good EPO boost - the 2nd and 3rd place skiers (Hoffman and Bovinov of Austria) are both known blood dopers and the Olympic race organizers found used blood bags and syringes in the trash for the Austrian team accomodations, and were most likely aided by an extra blood bag each.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/olympics/2002/news/2002/03/01/blood_probe_ap/
The only thing that matters is the increase in O2 carriers. The method used to achieve it is irrelevant from a performance perspective.

I think Mühlegg might have been on HBOC's or PFC in additon to having a ridiculous Hb mass. Plus the course and the conditions suited him perfectly. He was already a lot better than previously when returning to the sport in -99, competing for Spain, and had been suspicious before Salt Lake.
 

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