People Who Kick Buts: Juha The Cruel Vaatainen
Top results are reached only through pain. But eventually you like this pain. You’ll find the more difficulties you have on the way, the more you will enjoy your success.
- Born on July 12, 1941 in Finland.
- former Finnish athlete. He is the winner of the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter gold medals at the 1971 European Championships held in Helsinki. He was the eldest of the successful Finnish runners Lasse Virén, Pekka Vasala, Tapio Kantanen, Martti Vainio, and Kaarlo Maaninka who came into the limelight in the 1970s.
- Väätäinen started his running career as a sprinter. He won his first Junior Finnish Championship in 400 metres hurdles in 1960.
- Väätäinen was coached by Paavo Meskus from 1963 until Meskus death in 1968. However, Väätäinen was pretty independent and planned his training mostly by him.
- In the winter of 1970-71 Väätäinen trained again in Brazil. He was 10th at the Saint Silvester Road Race.
In Penedo he ran over 1000 km per month. In the late March he flew to Mexico City for altitude training. In Mexico he ran 350 km per week at his height.
In the Track & Field News annual world ranking Väätäinen was ranked first both at 5000 and 10,000 metres.
- By his education Väätäinen is a primary school teacher. However, he has not worked in the profession after the 1960s.
During the years, Väätäinen has worked as a coach, being especially successful in the field racewalking. He has coached, for example, Reima Salonen and Sari Essayah.
Väätäinen served as a head coach of long-distance runners at the Finnish Athletics Association in 1988-90.
In the 2000s Väätäinen has worked as a painter.
In 2007 he was a candidate at the Finnish parliamentary election but was not elected. In 2011 he ran again and this time was elected as a candidate of the True Finns party.