Lasse Viren-great or cheat?


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Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby run-bosch-run » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:00 pm

were rumors of his super-peaking in '72 and '76 being tied to blood-doping ever substantiated, or do they remain sour-grapes grumbling by the also-rans?
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby tafnut » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:19 pm

this has been the topic of discussion several times, but my question has always remained unanswered: why is taking out your own blood and then reinfusing it later 'cheating'? It was NOT banned at the time and, to my knowledge, the only chemicals introduced were blood thinners. I think it was 'common knowledge' that this was available to the Finns at the time, but no concrete evidence was ever found. It is banned now (I think) due to health considerations.
Last edited by tafnut on Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby gh » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:23 pm

Never substantiated that I know of.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby ltricard » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:37 pm

great
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby gh » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:49 pm

Taking it another step farther, as far as I know, NO track athlete ever received any penalty for blood-doping, although I guess that's as much function of being unable to prove it as much as anything!

The closest was the Finnish distance runner (drawing a blank and too lazy to look) who had the positive steroid test a few years back and loudly protested his innocence awhile because he knew he was clean. Then he realized what had happened. He had been taking steroids at some time in the past, and the metabolites had come back to haunt him when he blood-doped (with his own blood)!
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby slowcoach » Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:16 pm

Martti Vainio.

As regards Viren, it was not banned at the time, so he was not cheating (if indeed he partook).

He is still responsible for my favourite Olympic moment (Montreal 5k), and remains an all-time great in my eyes.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby eldrick » Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:45 pm

transfusing any whole blood requires diuretic cover

( bumetanide or ethacrynic acid )

to avoid potential death from cerebral haemorrhage or heart failure

under current WADA laws, he coulda got picked up for diuretic abuse & a minimum 2y ban
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby slowcoach » Sat Jan 15, 2005 4:51 am

>under current WADA laws, he coulda got picked up for diuretic
>abuse & a minimum 2y ban

Perhaps under future WADA laws people might be banned for using hypoxic tents? Who knows?

Perhaps in the future it will be illegal for me to drive with ANY alcohol in my system? Does that mean I'm breaking the law now?
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby bad hammy » Sat Jan 15, 2005 5:49 am

> Perhaps in the future it will be illegalfor me to drive with ANY alcohol in my system? Does that mean I'm breaking the law now?

By driving with a small amount of alcohol in the bloodstream and posting on Internet message boards at the same time? That definitely should be illegal . . .
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby kuha » Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:33 am

Like so many other things in life, there's no clear and definitive answer. I'd bet the farm that Viren (and others, remember Vaatainen?) did this, but--if so--they did nothing "illegal" by the rules of the day. But this is certainly NOT a defense of Viren, et al. I personally do not rate his career terribly high in the pantheon.

If we insist on retroactively applying today's "laws" to the past, why not do the reverse? Thus, if Wes Santee's career could have been ended for $200 of extra expense money, then there is not a single legit athlete today at the Grand Prix level (and well below!).
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby gh » Sat Jan 15, 2005 9:34 am

<<Perhaps in the future it will be illegal
>for me to drive with ANY alcohol in my system?>>

That already is the case in some countries.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby bad hammy » Sat Jan 15, 2005 10:25 am

Back in the pre-world championship days when the Olympics was THE show for T&F, Lasse Viren double-gold-medaled twice in a row, with a WR after a fall. These two Olympics book-ended my un-storied high school distance running career and were very inspirational at the time.

If it was reindeer blood, blood doping, or just plain great peaking, it was legal at the time. The names left in his dust would fill a distance running hall of fame. His Oly exploits put his career in the upper echelons in distance running history, regardless of the lack of pre- and post-Olympic supporting races.
Last edited by bad hammy on Sat Jan 15, 2005 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby SQUACKEE » Sat Jan 15, 2005 12:02 pm

if all he cared about was the olympics then he is a total sucess, not a failure. the way he won, that extra gear against the best in the world. ill never forget it and i think he's one of the all time greats,although he may not be remembered that way. i know what i saw and it was greatness.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby slowcoach » Sat Jan 15, 2005 12:41 pm

><<Perhaps in the future it will be illegal
>for me to drive with ANY alcohol
>in my system?>>

>That already is the case in some countries.

As well I know it, Garry. But in mine it's perfectly legal, just as it's legal to get married at 12 or 13 in some jurisdictions.

But we can only apply those laws that are in effect at those times and in those jurisdictions, etc.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby PWC » Sat Jan 15, 2005 9:01 pm

I don't know enough to agree or disagree with the comment below. But if there's nothing wrong with blood-doping with your own blood, what's wrong with using someone else's - that is, with what Tyler Hamilton is accused of? It may be more dangerous (and stupid) than using your own, but the performance-enhancement effect should be just the same, no?

>this has been the topic of discussion several times, but my question has always
>remained unanswered: why is taking out your own blood and then reinfusing it
>later 'cheating'? It was NOT banned at the time and, to my knowledge, the only
>chemicals introduced were blood thinners. I think it was 'common knowledge'
>that this was available to the Finns at the time, but no concrete evidence was
>ever found. It is banned now (I think) due to health considerations.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby Pego » Sun Jan 16, 2005 5:53 am

< It may be more dangerous (and stupid) than using your own, but the performance-enhancement effect should be just the same, no?>

Or better.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby Track fan » Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:05 pm

Both........
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby BillCarr » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:14 am

didn't one of the Finns from that era (not Viren) - perhaps Maaninka - admit that some sort of blood doping was going on ?
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby run-bosch-run » Mon Jan 17, 2005 4:05 pm

in answer to your unanswered question: blood-doping has to be considered cheating the same way taking EPO is cheating. Doing something artificial to increase one’s own red-blood cells. Bottom line to me is he at least broke the Spirit of the law, if not the Letter of the law. Is it not considered cheating to use technology and/or procedures not widely available to the general athletic community to gain unfair advantage? Just ask 1972 pole vaulter Bob Seagren if the IOC vaulting judges didn’t rule on his ‘illegal’ poles based on what was considered - by them - to be not widely available to the genera athletic community at the time of the games
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby Friar » Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:08 pm

He came close to a triple in Montreal: he was great. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympic ... 859597.stm
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby marknhj » Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:18 pm

He was absolutely great. No question.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby slowcoach » Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:08 am

>Doing something artificial to
>increase one’s own red-blood cells

Isn't that what lots of athletes are doing when they sleep in hypoxic tents? Or travel thousands of miles to train at altitude?
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby kevinsdad » Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:58 am

Many things are legal but not ethical. If Viren blood-doped it would certainly diminish his accomplishments in my mind, even if it was not technically cheating. I never quite grasped how he could be so great in the Olympics but have a relatively undistinguished career otherwise.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby Dutra » Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:39 pm

>didn't one of the Finns from that era (not Viren) - perhaps Maaninka - admit
>that some sort of blood doping was going on ?>>

It was Karlo Maaninka that supposedly admitted it but I can't find any direct quotes.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby Brian » Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:53 pm

>>didn't one of the Finns from that era (not Viren) - perhaps Maaninka -
>admit
>that some sort of blood doping was going on ?>>

It was Karlo
>Maaninka that supposedly admitted it but I can't find any direct quotes.

I remember Maaninka saying that...he never ran on another Finn national team again. Coincidence?

Also, there is a Finnish documentry made throughout the year leading up to the 1980 Games (later translated into English, to the great consternation of the Finnish sports governing body) where Viren & Co. are shown training in Colombia and putting their blood into a centrifuge. Just checking the RBC levels? I truly doubt it. [I was told by someone whose opinion I trust that it was added to the film to show the highly-demanding Finnish public how wisely their money was being spent to scientificly prepare for the Games.]

But the fact remains, Viren was a stud, period. Blood-doping (the crude form back then, no added thinners for better transport) in a rounds competition mainly meant you toed the line in the final feeling fresh, with no ill effects from the prelim. But you still have to win the thing.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby mrbowie » Tue Jan 18, 2005 9:54 pm

I love the rationalizations from the folks who idolized a guy to such an extent that they are willing to forgive cheating.

The logic that whatever he did at the time was not cheating because there were no rules against it can be used by BALCO re its THG.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby slowcoach » Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:14 am

>I love the rationalizations from the folks who idolized a guy to such an extent
>that they are willing to forgive cheating.

The logic that whatever he did at
>the time was not cheating because there were no rules against it can be used by
>BALCO re its THG.

What say you about people who sleep in hypoxic tents? Is that cheating? What if it's made cheating in the future?

I don't forgive cheating. Viren didn't cheat. Blood doping was not covered in the rules then. THG was covered in the rules. Check them out. But what is cheating anyway? The BALCO case has nothing to do with Viren.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby Brian » Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:11 am

>I love the rationalizations from the folks who idolized a guy to such an extent
>that they are willing to forgive cheating.

If you're referring to me, you are assuming a lot.

I have never "idolized" Viren. His Olympics-and-nothing-else-matters attitude was the absolute opposite of my personal philosophy regarding sport. [As a fan, I actually most admire John Walker's earlier attitude and philosophy of "anyone, anywhere, anytime."]

That said, I am not afraid to give Viren (and his coach, Rolf Heikkila--Lydiard inspired) credit for devising perhaps the ultimate in long-term peaking schedules. Not once, but twice, and possibly one injury short of being three times.

As far as drugs of any kind, my point was/is: you can take whatever training and racing performance enhancers you like, but if you don't have the required level of talent and don't do the correct work, you'll NEVER get to the top of the Olympic podium. Never.

You STILL have to be a stud; you STILL have to have the best plan possible for yourself, in training and racing.

Whatever else, Viren was a stud and his plan was the best that could be for him and his particular strenghts and weaknesses as a runner. That much HAS to be respected!
Last edited by Brian on Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby eldrick » Wed Jan 19, 2005 11:51 am

>>I love the rationalizations from the folks who idolized a guy to such an
>extent
>that they are willing to forgive cheating.

If you're referring to
>me, you are assuming a lot.

I have never "idolized" Viren. His
>Olympics-and-nothing-else-matters attitude was the absolute opposite of my
>personal philosophy regarding sport. [As a fan, I actually most admire John
>Walker's earlier attitude and philosophy of "anyone, anywhere, anytime."]
>

That said, I am not afraid to give Viren (and his coach, Rolf
>Heikkila--Lydiard inspired) credit for devising perhaps the ultimate in
>long-term peaking schedules. Not once, but twice, and possibly one injury short
>of being three times.

As far as drugs of any kind, my point was/is: you can
>take whatever training and racing performance enhancers you like, but if you
>don't have the required level of talent and don't do the correct work, you'll
>NEVER get to the top of the Olympic podium. Never.

You STILL have to be a
>stud; you STILL have to have the best plan possible for yourself, in training
>and racing.

Whatever else, Viren was a stud and his plan was the best that
>could be for him and his particular strenghts and weaknesses as a runner. That
>much HAS to be respected!<

so if viren was a stud, that would obviously make all the other runners in those finals MEGA STUDS, as they all reached those finals without blood doping ?!
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby bad hammy » Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:12 pm

> so if viren was a stud, that would obviously make all the other runners in those finals MEGA STUDS, as they all reached those finals without blood doping ?!

What's to say that the other runners were not blood doping also (or worse)?
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby eldrick » Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:33 pm

>> What's to say that the other runners were not blood doping also (or
>worse)?<

viren's team-mate admitted it, so that tarnishes all the finns ( as presumably, being a small country, they came from the same camp ) whereas no belgian,brit,african athlete had made any such similar confession - so at least there is no implication on their part at the time
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby slowcoach » Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:52 pm

>>> viren's team-mate admitted it, so that tarnishes all the
>finns

Maaninka admitted he had partaken in 1980, well before it was banned, so how are they tarnished?
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby SQUACKEE » Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:56 pm

is there any proof that blood doping actually increased performance?
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby eldrick » Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:06 pm

>>>>Maaninka admitted he had partaken in 1980, well before it was
>banned, so how are they tarnished?<

it may depend on his age - in '80 he might have been a developed,"elite" athlete who would at this stage benefit from doping ( for OG ), whereas in '76 he might have been just a mid-level/junior/etc. who wasn't yet worthy to participate in their national scheme

being doped in '80 doesn't rule out the practice being used in the earlier years - i believe it was an off-shoot of the cross-country ski-ing team who had been using it throughout the '70's
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby eldrick » Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:11 pm

>is there any proof that blood doping actually increased performance?<

yes

it reaches the end-point you are aiming for with EPO, without having to use EPO or wait 2 - 4 weeks for the effects of EPO to occur

you are almost immediately an immeasurably better distance runner afterwards
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby Dutra » Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:47 pm

>>I love the rationalizations from the folks who idolized a guy to such an
>extent
>that they are willing to forgive cheating.

The logic that whatever
>he did at
>the time was not cheating because there were no rules against it
>can be used by
>BALCO re its THG.

What say you about people who sleep in
>hypoxic tents? Is that cheating? What if it's made cheating in the
>future?

I don't forgive cheating. Viren didn't cheat. Blood doping was not
>covered in the rules then. THG was covered in the rules. Check them out. But
>what is cheating anyway? The BALCO case has nothing to do with Viren.>>>

The feeling around the time of Viren was that it was certainly unethical if it were true. Juoko Kuha supposedly was the first elite athlete to use it.

I think if they had come right out and let it be known that they had this great new training program which included sucking out some of your own blood and putting it back in a few months later Viren would not be looked upon very positively today.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby SQUACKEE » Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:53 pm

If he blood doped, if not cheating it certainly was an unfair advantage.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby bad hammy » Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:10 pm

> viren's team-mate admitted it, so that tarnishes all the finns

By that rationale all Americans are on THG, amongst other things.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby gh » Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:18 pm

Don't forget all Canadians on Stanozolol.
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Re: Lasse Viren-great or cheat?

Postby eldrick » Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:40 pm

>> viren's team-mate admitted it, so that tarnishes all the finns

By that
>rationale all Americans are on THG, amongst other things.<

Note: the qualifying addendum was:

"as presumably, being a small country, they came from the same camp"
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