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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 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 primary familial congenital polycythemia (PFCP), which gives one a very high hematocrit, or red blood cell count. Normal hematocrits for men are 40-45 but Mäntyranta’s was as 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 NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1960 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) FIN Eero Mäntyranta
15 kilometres, Men (Olympic) 6
4 × 10 kilometres Relay, Men (Olympic) Finland 1 Gold
1964 Winter Olympics Cross Country Skiing (Skiing) FIN Eero Mäntyranta
15 kilometres, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
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) FIN Eero Mäntyranta
15 kilometres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
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) FIN Eero Mäntyranta
30 kilometres, Men (Olympic) 19
50 kilometres, Men (Olympic) AC

Olympic family relations

Special Notes