Mika Myllyla, the Olympic gold medalist in cross-country skiing, who was part of a 2001 doping scandal that felled the Finnish team and its support system, was found dead in his apartment this past week. Mr. Myllyla never did recover in his career or life after the scandal engulfed the team. He battled alcoholism, convictions for drunk driving, and assault charges following the abrupt end of his career. The great irony is that the investigation and downfall began because the team left a medical bag behind at a gas station near the Helsinki airport. The gas station manager turned the bag over to the police, who discovered its owner to be the Finnish Ski Association. The left-behind bag was chock full of nypodermic needles, infusion bags, and prescriptions for HES (Hemohes, banned by the International Olympic Committee in 2000). HES was being used to hide the use of other prohibited drugs. Coaches, doctors, and administrators all bit the dust on the discovery.
Ironic that the simple act of leaving a bag behind was the cause of the downfall. But, circumstances beyond our control always cause the truth to emerge. It just wants out there, and it finds a way. Sometimes through an inadvertent key stroke on oneâ€™s Twitter account. Sometimes through an inadvertent misplacement of a bag at a gas station. It just wants out there and will use technology or gas station managers, whatever it takes, to find its way. For Mr. Myllyla, RIP, and thank you for the reminder.