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Kyrö: Isometsä and Kirvesniemi also took EPO

The former head coach of the Finnish National Ski Team, Kari-Pekka Kyrö, was heard in the perjury trial of ex-skiers Janne Immonen, Harri Kirvesniemi and Jari Isometsä on Tuesday. Kyrö told the court that he ran into doping in the team as early as in 1993.

Kari-Pekka Kyrö
Kari-Pekka Kyrö arriving in court on Tuesday. Image: Kimmo Mäntylä / Lehtikuva

Kyrö said in Helsinki District Court that he first came into contact with EPO (glycoprotein hormone erythropoietin) and growth hormones in the national team in November 1993.  As the then B-team coach he saw major changes in skiers' haemoglobin values during squad training in Italy.

When Kyrö took over the A-team in 1998, he believes that doping was already an entrenched practice. Kyrö pointing to former national team coach Pekka Vähäsöyrinki as the principal influence behind the systematic use of doping.

Kyrö  himself denied systematically offering epo hormone to athletes.

The trial is a follow-up from a fraud case focusing on doping allegations against directors of the Ski Association where Immonen, Kirvesniemi and Isometsä were heard as witnesses in 2012.

The three are on trial for perjury for their statements in that trial.

That in turn followed from the 1999 convictions of journalist Johanna Aatsalo-Sallinen and editor-in-chief Kari Väisänen of the Finnish News Agency who received suspended jail sentences and fines for defamation after reporting on the use of doping by members of the nation skiing team.

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