Saarinen urges athletes to participate in the fight for clean sport

Recent antidoping rule violations have become the topic of discussion of top athletes around the world. Some Finnish athletes have made critical comments. Now, Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, Olympic medalist in cross-country skiing, wants to challenge athletes in other countries to protect the rights of clean athletes.

Every athlete and other stakeholder in sports has a responsibility for clean sport and fair play. The roles and duties of the various stakeholders vary, but the goal is the same: clean and fair sport.

“Every antidoping rule violation is one too many. Whatever the sport or nationality of the offender, each violation casts a shadow over clean athletes as well. This is really unfair on us clean athletes. It affects the image, popularity and funding of both sports and athletes,” Aino-Kaisa Saarinen says.

In cooperation with the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS), the Finnish national cross-country team has organised events in which the attendees and a representative of the national team, together with a doping control officer from FINCIS, have discussed clean sport and fair play. The participants have also discussed antidoping fundamentals, such as doping control, prohibited substances and therapeutic use exemptions.

“I hope that other countries will also adopt this model. I personally have enjoyed attending these events. It has been great and also highly motivating to meet eager junior athletes who listen to you and ask questions. Their goals are high; you can see that in their eyes and in their attitude. These events also provide an opportunity to spread information about clean sport. Ignorance must never be a reason for an antidoping rule violation,” Saarinen says.

FINCIS has been involved in the cross-country skiing challenge campaign. FINCIS has produced material for the events in three languages and has helped in the marketing. Together with the doping control officer, the representatives of the national team have discussed the topics in advance and have emphasised different things on the basis of athletes’ wishes.

“It has been fantastic to see our athletes become involved with this campaign. At these events, the athletes tell how antidoping activities are part of their everyday life. Clean sport and fair play are always included in the discussions. It is important that our athletes understand that the promotion of clean sport is both their right and their responsibility. We are more than happy to share our model and material with others as well,” says Harri Syväsalmi, Secretary General at FINCIS.

Many Finnish athletes share information concerning their doping tests either on their websites or in their blogs. On these venues, they also show their support for clean sport. Many athletes also report on their doping tests in social media. FINCIS shares athletes’ messages on its Instagram account (puhtaastiparas).

For more information please contact:
Susanna Sokka
Information Manager, FINCIS
Tel. +358 40 740 7477