Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 26
  1. Collapse Details
    Juha Väätäinen
    #1
    was Juha Väätäinen the first of the mega fast last lap 10 (53.8) and 5 (53.0) k runners. I remember reading about his double in Helsinki and was astounded at the times ... he seems to have set the table for things to come. 2nd placers weren't so bad either. However The Cruel one left Jürgen Haase Jean, Wadoux and Harold Norpoth in his wake, despite Haase giving a valiant try. Too bad he was sub par in Munich. Would have added a different dimension to that 5k. So my question is 'was he the inaugural for fast last lap in 5 and 10k'.
    Reply With Quote
     

  2. Collapse Details
     
    #2
    He may still hold the record for the most dots over letters in his surname. :-)
    Reply With Quote
     

  3. Collapse Details
     
    #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    2,745
    Quote Originally Posted by tandfman View Post
    He may still hold the record for the most dots over letters in his surname. :-)
    And best nickname!
    Reply With Quote
     

  4. Collapse Details
     
    #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    north coast USA
    Posts
    2,842
    I have more than enough opportunities on a daily basis to confess my ignorance, but why not add one more ... while I follow & enjoy the EC now & in recent years, I don't know the history well, and so I had never read about these 1971 distance races, and somehow had never even heard of this guy. Oh well. But one of the things I truly appreciate about the Historical forum is such moments of learning. As for the original post, I don't know the answer to the question, but would be interested in some discussion from those who know this history.

    Just read Väätäinen's profile on Wikipedia, which I will take for the moment & until further news to be reasonably accurate. Interesting background for a long-distance track runner -- says he started out as a 400m hurdler, moved up to 800m, and then on to the long distances.

    Thanks to Youtube, at least the last laps of each of these races are available for viewing (a bit harder to find the 5k than the 10k). Just watched them -- obviously, he was the fastest, but he really looked like he dropped in from another event, especially in the last lap of the 10k. Even compared to the guys who ran for the other medals in those two races -- who were not terribly far behind -- Väätäinen moves much more like a long sprinter or middle distance guy than a long distance racer. (And to think he could do that, whilst carrying all those umlauts.) It matters not (to me, at this moment) that these events have gotten much much faster in the past few decades. These are truly impressive performances -- great fun to watch! Thanks to no one for creating this thread.
    Last edited by Master Po; 07-17-2014 at 06:07 PM.
    Reply With Quote
     

  5. Collapse Details
     
    #5
    I think I read somewhere that he was a sprinter in his early career or at least that he had run some 'sprint' races and done okay to reasonably well at the local levels - but don't know enough to be confident about it. He was on cover of TFN in Aug '71 - showing both races referred to
    Reply With Quote
     

  6. Collapse Details
     
    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by no one View Post
    I think I read somewhere that he was a sprinter in his early career or at least that he had run some 'sprint' races and done okay to reasonably well at the local levels - but don't know enough to be confident about it. He was on cover of TFN in Aug '71 - showing both races referred to
    The Helsinki 1971 10K remains one of my favorite races to watch. Ironic that Bedford appeared on the cover of TFN, the month before Vaatainen. The latter started out as a 400m man, personal best of 48.9, and TFN said he was once a 400m finalist at the Finnish Championships. It is worth noting that the penultimate lap was ~65 , and that the sprint on the last lap began after 10-11 s of running. Since he was still fresh at the tape, who knows what his last lap would have been if he sprinted the full lap - perhaps a sub 52?
    Reply With Quote
     

  7. Collapse Details
     
    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tandfman View Post
    He may still hold the record for the most dots over letters in his surname. :-)
    Well, I, for example, tie with him in this respect (seven dots in my surname). But cannot think of top-level athletes beating him.
    Reply With Quote
     

  8. Collapse Details
     
    #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Calgary, Alta.
    Posts
    462
    It is interesting (depressing?) to note that Martti Vainio's 5000m record of 13:16.02 is over 30 years old and yet is the newest Finnish record at 1500m and up.
    I wonder if today's Finnish long-distance runners could even keep up with Nurmi, Ritola or Iso-Hollo, never mind Vaatainen or Vainio. (Readers welcome to insert missing dots).
    Reply With Quote
     

  9. Collapse Details
     
    #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    The Heart of Dixie
    Posts
    1,031
    Close second in the dots category to Juha The Cruel was Pekka Päivärinta.

    And how about all the names beginning with "V": Vaatainen, Vainio, Viren, Vasala...

    Such was their prowess back in the 70's that Runner's World magazine published a booklet on the Finns.

    So what happened???
    Reply With Quote
     

  10. Collapse Details
     
    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Duncan View Post
    Close second in the dots category to Juha The Cruel was Pekka Päivärinta.

    And how about all the names beginning with "V": Vaatainen, Vainio, Viren, Vasala...

    Such was their prowess back in the 70's that Runner's World magazine published a booklet on the Finns.

    So what happened???
    Actually, there was in the 1980s a fairly good steeplechaser called Ilkka Äyräväinen (PR 8.22), tying with Väätäinen with the amount of dots...

    But what is telling is that, while Äyräväinen was never a well-known name, he would have easily beaten all present Finnish steeplechasers. The Finnish standards of distance running have simply deteriorated hugely at all levels.

    The declining popularity of distance running also seems to be evident in mass runs such as Helsinki City Marathon. As far as I remember, I (a very occasional runner) was something like 218th in 1993 with the time of 2.56. Now, browsing at the recent results, I find times like that somewhere between 30th and 40th. (Having a surname beginning with V and with three ä's, I should perhaps have taken training more seriously...)

    When considering reasons for this decline, we might first mention something that is common to wealthy Western countries in general: kids and youngsters are less inclined to spend their time in demanding physical activities; moreover, team sports have gained in popularity in comparison to T&F.

    But I think there is also a particularly Finnish component to the decline after the great Vs. First of all, we got too used to their success. After their accomplishments, runners who were a bit more mediocre – for example, Tommy Ekblom and Risto Ulmala – were easily despised and ridiculed at the moments that were considered as failures, even though they were actually very very good in comparison to the present Finnish runners. Hence the atmosphere was not always so supportive.

    Second, we cannot avoid the issue of Vainio's doping case in 1984, which was a shock to the Finnish public and certainly strongly diminished the general enthusiasm for distance running.
    Reply With Quote
     

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •