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Banned for life for doping is back in the Finnish national team

The Finnish National Team coach was banned for life for doping. Now he is back and employed as a sports coordinator in the cross-country department of the Finnish Ski Association.

Photo: Daniel Goetzhaber/Bildbyrån

Illustration photo.

The Finnish national team coach Jarmo Riski was banned for doping for life by the International Skiing and Snowboarding Federation (FIS) after the Finnish doping scandal that unfolded during the World Ski Championships in Lahti in 2001. 

He was then a coach for the Finnish women’s national team, but now he is back in the Finnish national team. 

Lifted the ban
Despite the life sentence, the Finnish Ski Federation lifted the ban in 2004. And according to the CEO of the Finnish Ski Federation, Ismo Hämäläinen, the FIS also lifted the ban in 2015. 

The ban lift made it possible for Riski to return as a coach in Finnish cross-country skiing formally. In the meantime, however, he was engaged as a private coach for, among others, Virpi Kuitunen and Aino-Kaisa Saarinen for several years. 

Hämäläinen explains to Dagbladet that they have chosen to give Riski a second chance. The former national team coach is now the sports coordinator for the cross-country department of the Finnish Ski Association. 

Hämäläinen defends the ban lift and signing by saying that “a lot has changed since 2001.” He points out that the FIS has also lifted the ban, which is why the Finnish Ski Association has given Riski that position. 

Norwegian leaders react
Both the head of cross-country skiing in the Norwegian Ski Federation, Espen Bjervig, and the former head of Norwegian cross-country skiing, Vidar Løfshus, are skeptical. However, they are cautious about making drastic conclusions. 

“Initially, this sounds very strange and not a good case, but I do not know his role in the Finnish Ski Association or the status of his lifetime ban, so it would be wrong of me to conclude anything in this case before I know something more,” says Bjervig to Dagbladet.

Are you interested in traditional cross-country skiing? Click HERE and read more.

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