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    #11
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    The Finnish international-level athlete with the most dots in their surname is 577 PVer Heikki Vääräniemi (still #2 on the Finnish national all-time list), with eight. The national-level athlete (good enough to be listed on Tilastopaja's national all-time list) with the most dots in their surname is 16.77/50.46 SP/DT guy Reima Mäki-Äijälä, who somehow managed to cram 11 dots into 10 letters.
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Duncan View Post
    Such was their prowess back in the 70's that Runner's World magazine published a booklet on the Finns.
    I have that booklet somewhere in my garage.

    I remember reading about some of the Vs going to South America to train in the winter. Three workouts a day, prodigious mileage. Truly paying the price for success.
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    #13
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    In the 1970s many of the great Finnish runners used to train Kawerau and Tokoroa in New Zealand during the NZ summer. Both towns had large pulp and paper mills and a lot of Finnish migrant specialist workers. Also the forests to train in
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    #14
    There was also Kaarlo Maaninka who medaled in 1980 5k or 10k, and later admitted to blood doping.
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    #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olli View Post
    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.
    Not sure whether that dynamic is at play in the USA but I like to make similar comparisons using my own mediocre times from my "prime" days. We have a lot of soccer here in the USA and parents really keep close to their children, not letting them stray far from home. 30-40 years ago, it was not unusual at all to encounter adolescents out on runs but I never see that today.

    I remember the Vainio case well as many of us do. I think that was the last big moment for the Finns in Olympic-level running.
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    #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Duncan View Post
    I remember the Vainio case well as many of us do. I think that was the last big moment for the Finns in Olympic-level running.
    Globally, yeah, I guess, but at least they had some success on the European scale in the not-so-distant past. Janne Holmen was the marathon champ in 2002, and Jukka Keskisalo the SC winner in 2006.
    Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...
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    #17
    I think, although he had a relatively brief career, Pekka Vasala may have been the best "modern" Finn distance runner of all. He was very talented with 1:44.5 800m speed...not surprised he won the Munich 1500m and could have won more gold like Viren but something (anyone know?) got in the way of his longevity.

    I knew and did some training runs with Vasala when he was briefly at BYU. Fun guy to be around.
    Last edited by BYU grad; 07-25-2014 at 01:41 AM.
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    #18
    wasn't Viren briefly @ BYU?
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    #19
    Yes, Viren was also at BYU...circa 1969-70. For various reasons that I have never understood neither one officially competed for BYU. I didn't know Viren...he was more of a reserved, quiet personally than the fun loving Vasala.
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    #20
    Do you guys remember where Vaatainen went to school in the US ?
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