Erkki Vetten­­niemi

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…

What would happen if…

Bedroom closets are practical for storing newspaper cuttings, as all serious scholars know, but every five years or so the stacks must be sorted out for fear of marital discord. And that’s what…

Triple victory for Norwegian sports medicine

Fifty years ago this week the most celebrated Norwegian was a cross-country skier. Valiant skiers, of course, have never suffered from lack of recognition in Norway, but the most remarkable thing about this…

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…