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Eero Mäntyranta

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 3
Silver 2
Bronze 2
Total 7
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameEero Antero•Mäntyranta
Used nameEero•Mäntyranta
Nick/petnamesMänty, Mister Seefeld
Born20 November 1937 in Lamkojärvi, Pello (FIN)
Died30 December 2013 in Oulu (FIN)
Measurements170 cm / 65 kg
AffiliationsPellon Ponsi, Pello (FIN)
NOC(s) Finland

Biography

Eero Mäntyranta, probably the most successful Finnish cross-country skier ever, competed at four Olympic Winter Games (1960-1972), winning cross-country skiing medals at three of them. A member of the Finnish 4 x 10 km relay team from 1960-68, he won gold in 1960, silver in 1964, and a bronze in 1968. At his peak in 1964, Mäntyranta won both the 15 km and 30 km and added a silver and a bronze in these two events in 1968 to bring his total medal haul to seven. He was also World champion at 30 km in 1962 and 1966, won relay silvers in both these championships and added a bronze in the 50 km in 1966. He also won the 15 km at Holmenkollen thrice (1962, 1964, 1968) and 15 km at Lahti twice (1964, 1972). Mäntyranta won five Finnish Championships, was selected as the Finnish Sportsman of the Year in both 1964 and 1966 and was awarded the Holmenkollen medal in 1964. By the time of his fourth Olympic appearance in 1972, he was past his prime and was selected only for the 30 km, in which he finished 19th.

His career ended soon afterwards when he became the first Finnish sportsman to have tested positive for doping. Mäntyranta actually had tested positive for amphetamines at the 1972 Finnish Championships before the Sapporo Games, but the result was hushed up. The fact came to light after the Olympic Winter Games, but it has been always denied by Mäntyranta, although he later admitted taking hormones, which during his sports career were not yet prohibited. Interestingly, Mäntyranta suffered from a medical condition termed polycythemia vera, which gives one a very high hematocrit, or red blood cell count. Normal hematocrits for men are 40-45 but Mäntyranta’s was a high as 60-65, giving his blood increased oxygen carrying capacity, which likely contributed to his success in the aerobic sport of cross-country skiing.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1960 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) 15 kilometres, Men Olympic 6 Representing Finland    
  4 × 10 kilometres Relay, Men Olympic Finland 1 Gold
1964 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) 15 kilometres, Men Olympic 1 Gold Representing Finland    
  30 kilometres, Men Olympic 1 Gold
  50 kilometres, Men Olympic 9
  4 × 10 kilometres Relay, Men Olympic Finland 2 Silver
1968 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) 15 kilometres, Men Olympic 2 Silver Representing Finland    
  30 kilometres, Men Olympic 3 Bronze
  50 kilometres, Men Olympic 15
  4 × 10 kilometres Relay, Men Olympic Finland 3 Bronze
1972 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) 30 kilometres, Men Olympic 19 Representing Finland    
  50 kilometres, Men Olympic AC

Olympic family relations

Special Notes