Erkki Vetten­­niemi

Confessions of a failed myth buster

Until a few days ago, I enjoyed reading but failed to understand some of the more sophisticated contributions to sport studies. Take Doug Booth, for example. The Field: Truth and Fiction in Sport…

Cosmic calcio

In an exceptionally brilliant passage originally composed in the 1970s, Umberto Eco recalls having begged his father to take him to the ball game, which (in the Italian context) of course meant calcio….

Step down, Seb Coe!

This is not an easy thing to say, especially for a former fan of the English middle-distance great whose running career took off in 1977, the precise year when my interest in athletics…

The case for banning high-altitude camps

Instead of showering my largely imaginary fans with new posts over the past six months or so, I commenced preparations for the 2017 centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, aka the Original…

They train horses, don’t they?

After the acceptance of women, homosexuals and disabled people as bona fide athletes, it might come as something of a surprise to note that discrimination still exists in the world of sport. In…

Should ice hockey matter?

As the obtuse cliché goes, ‘sports reflect society’ and diligent sports scholars highlight ‘socially significant’ issues. Granted, in some instances sporting practices do reflect society and sports-related research may yield results that have…

Back to Sochi with Solzhenitsyn

Today, on the 96th birth anniversary of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008), arguably the greatest Russian novelist of the past century, my thoughts go back to the delightfully eclectic closing ceremony of the 2014 Sochi…

Dangerous dreams, illicit images

Although sports-minded movie buffs might cast their votes for The Goalkeeper’s Fear of the Penalty (1972) and self-respecting film critics would definitely prefer Wings of Desire (1987), my personal favorite in Wim Wenders’…

Congrats! Cheers! Let’s get drunk!

As far as national stereotypes go, binge drinking and javelin throwing are highly valued pastimes in Finland. No wonder a Finnish tabloid’s front page recently featured two javelin throwers toasting a ‘double’ with…

How to get rid of cheap victories

At the end of last month, a most curious prize-giving ceremony took place at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium. In fact, it may well have been the weirdest cérémonie protocolaire in the history of…