Olympic Finnish Cross-Country Skiing Champion Dies

Posted By: The Ski Channel on July 5, 2011 10:58 am

By Associated Press:

HELSINKI — Mika Myllyla, a former Olympic cross-country champion and Finnish skiing great whose life unraveled after a doping ban in 2001, died Tuesday. He was 41.

Police declined to give details except to say no crime was involved. National broadcaster YLE said he was found dead in his apartment in the northwest town of Kokkola.

Myllyla won six Olympic medals, including gold in the classical 30-kilometer race at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. He won a silver in the 50-kilometer race in the 1994 Lillehammer Games, and shared four bronzes over both Olympics.

He was a four-time winner at the world championships, including his starring performance in capturing three golds and a silver at the 1999 tournament at Ramsau, Austria.

Myllyla’s career, however, was interrupted for two years after his positive test at the 2001 worlds, with five other Finnish skiers also receiving the same ban. He made a comeback but failed to qualify again for Finland’s team and retired in 2005.

Despite his tearful apology in 2001 for doping, many still consider him one of Finland’s finest cross-country skiers.



(Photo credit: Nivala Karjalainen)