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Eero Mäntyranta

Full name: Eero Antero Mäntyranta
Nickname(s): Mänty, Mister Seefeld
Gender: Male
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
Weight: 143 lbs (65 kg)
Born: November 20, 1937 in Lamkojärvi, Pello, Lappi, Finland
Died: December 30, 2013 in Oulu, Pohjois-Pohjanmaa, Finland
Affiliations: Pellon Ponsi, Pello (FIN)
Country: FIN Finland
Sport: Cross Country Skiing

Related Olympians: Uncle of Pertti Teurajärvi.

Medals: 3 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze (7 Total)

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

Men's 15 kilometres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T I1T I1R I2T I2R
1960 Winter 22 Squaw Valley Cross Country Skiing Finland Final Standings 6 52:40.6 17:12 =9 35:51 =6
1964 Winter 26 Innsbruck Cross Country Skiing Finland Final Standings 1 50:54.1 17:43.8 1 36:03.8 1
1968 Winter 30 Grenoble Cross Country Skiing Finland Final Standings 2 47:56.1 17:06.4 2 34:56.9 1

Men's 30 kilometres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T I1T I1R I2T I2R
1964 Winter 26 Innsbruck Cross Country Skiing Finland Final Standings 1 1-30:50.7 28:58.7 1 1-00:20.7 1
1968 Winter 30 Grenoble Cross Country Skiing Finland Final Standings 3 1-36:55.3 32:12.1 3 1-07:44.6 2
1972 Winter 34 Sapporo Cross Country Skiing Finland Final Standings 19 1-41:40.51 31:39.88 23 1-08:22.62 17

Men's 50 kilometres

Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Rank T I1T I1R I2T I2R I3T I3R
1964 Winter 26 Innsbruck Cross Country Skiing Finland Final Standings 9 2-47:47.1 33:10 6 1-19:48 =7 1-55:58 9
1968 Winter 30 Grenoble Cross Country Skiing Finland Final Standings 15 2-32:53.8 48:51.7 11 1-14:37.8 18 2-06:30.5 12
1972 Winter 34 Sapporo Cross Country Skiing Finland Final Standings AC DNF

Men's 4 × 10 kilometres Relay

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank T ET ER
1960 Winter 22 Squaw Valley Cross Country Skiing Finland FIN Final Standings 1 34:45.0 1-09:48.0 =1
1964 Winter 26 Innsbruck Cross Country Skiing Finland FIN Final Standings 2 34:10.6 2-18:42.4 2
1968 Winter 30 Grenoble Cross Country Skiing Finland FIN Final Standings 3 32:23.7 2-10:56.7 3