Documentary Looks at Steroids in Finnish Cross-Country Skiing

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Juha Mieto, a multiple Olympic medalist and one of the most celebrated cross-country skiers in Finnish history, has been linked to anabolic steroids in a new documentary released this month. The Finnish documentary Sinivalkoinen valhe (“The Blue and White Lie”) by director Arto Halonen examines the history of doping and steroids in Finnish skiing.

Halonen interviewed several individuals associated with elite skiing in Finland including Olympic athletes, coaches and doctors who allegedly worked with athletes who doped. One of the blockbuster accusations from the film was made by Olympic weightlifter Kaarlo Kangasniemi. Kangasniemi won a gold medal in the middle heavyweight division (90-kilograms) at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

What connection does an Olympic weightlifter have to cross-country skiing? Kangasniemi claimed to have met Mieto at a gathering of Finnish Olympic athletes at Saarijärvi in 1975. Mieto allegedly asked Kangasniemi about anabolic steroids when the two crossed paths in a sauna.

“Jussi started to ask me about the use of hormones,” claimed Kangasniemi.

According Kangasniemi, Mieto asked several questions about steroids and requested Kangasniemi’s advice on their use; Kangasniemi said that Mieto admitted using the anabolic steroid Dianabol (methandrostenolone) at a dosage of five milligrams per day.

Kangasniemi advised Mieto to never use more than 10 or 15 milligrams of Dianabol per day. Exceeding this amount of Dianabol would cause excessive muscle growth and prove to be counterproductive for an endurance athlete.

Mieto has been a major Finnish sporting hero who capitalized on his popularity as an athlete to go into politics. Mieto won a total of five Olympic medals at the 1976 Innsbruck, 1980 Lake Placid and 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics.

Mieto has vigorously denied using anabolic steroids and denied any conversation with Kangasniemi took place. He maintains that Kangasniemi has confused him with another sportsman.


Helsingin Sanomat. (October 10, 2012). Olympic medallist says he advised skiing legend Juha Mieto on use of steroids. Retrieved from http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Olympic+medallist+says+he+advised+skiing+legend+Juha+Mieto+on+use+of+steroids/1329104834526