Erkki Vetten­­niemi

Of bicycles and Bolsheviks

While cycling may well be the first modern sport in the sense of having become a full-fledged sport upon its invention, a group of cyclists shares responsibility for one of the biggest social…

Stop smiling, you are running!

‘Did you see that runner?’ I asked my daughter the other day. We were cycling home along a lakeside road that positively teemed with ‘physically active people,’ as the sociologists of sport put…

Brexit must include athletics

It’s the day after the closing ceremony of the infamous IAAF World Athletics Championships in London, and Britain is still a legitimate member of the global athletics community. Why? Why wasn’t UK Athletics…

Camus on ice

It’s springtime in Scandinavia when waterways are no longer covered with a thick layer of ice and a shortcut across a lake turns into an adrenaline-boosting sport. Last weekend, however, I still discovered…

Lydiard’s lost legacy

Fifty years ago this spring Arthur Lydiard set foot on Finnish soil as the most expensive coach in the history of Finnish athletics. According to contemporary observers, the descendants of Paavo Nurmi and other…

Why letter-writing skiers should have remained illiterate

When I was young, cross-country skiers used to ski, and only after having retired, they might have picked up the pen and published an edifying memoir, guided of course by the invisible hand…

Olympics or bust

The year 2016 will go down in history as the year when Finnish sports went bust. Traditionally, ‘sports’ and ‘Olympic sports’ have been synonymous in Finland, and sports-loving Finns have been able to…

Lip cream for suckers

After toothpaste, beer, meat and other seemingly innocuous substances, lip balm is destined to be the next item on every self-respecting journalist’s list of Ten Best/Worst/Funniest/Craziest Doping Excuses. In fact, it already features…

The anti-gay games must not go on!

As the American academic Maylon Hanold demonstrates in her daring contribution to Endurance Running, a set of essays recently reviewed on idrottsforum.org, the discrimination of gay athletes is certainly not a thing of…

Rotten Russkies vs. noble Norwegians

Contrary to conventional wisdom, today’s Russia-bashing in sport is not a replay of Cold War animosities. Or, to put it otherwise, the furor over Russian athletes’ apparently liberal use of performance-enhancing substances is…