You know what? I'm calling it. Mick Foley is a Highlander.
Eero Mantyranta Could Ski Forever
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For four consecutive Winter Olympics, between 1960 and 1972, Eero Mantyranta was the king of winter sports. His seven Olympic medals in the last three of them gave him such a reputation among his peers that they flat-out couldn't think of a badass enough nickname, and started calling him "Mister Seefeld" based on the venue of his most successful year. You know you've made it in the world of sports when people start confusing you and the very stadium you sport in.
All of this was actually kind of strange, because there was nothing particularly athletic about Eero. He was reasonably fit and trained hard at his chosen sport, yeah, but so does your mom (although their sports of choice somewhat differ, if you know what I mean). Put Eero next to some of the other Olympians, and he was just some dude.
Some dude, that is, who is the best-known example of a genetic mutation that specifically allowed him to be super good at sports.
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"Suck it, gym rats."
Here's how good Eero was: In 1964, he won a 15K skiing race by a ridiculous 40 seconds, an accomplishment no one else has come even close of repeating. Later that year, he won a 30K competition by a minute. And it's all because of a single, slightly twisted erythropoietin receptor gene. This naturally increased his blood's oxygen-carrying capacity by about 50 percent, giving him a massive endurance advantage of the kind Lance Armstrong had to resort to some serious blood doping to achieve.
Mantyranta's mutant advantage was in fact so vast that we might one day end up manufacturing serial Eeros: Certain proponents of human genetic engineering suggest that future athletes might one day be able to alter their DNA to contain his "sports gene," essentially turning doping into a gene-dabbling hodgepodge. So don't be surprised if a few decades down the line, everyone's Olympic squads consist exclusively of grumpy Finns who keep one-upping each other 40 seconds at a time before presumably pissing off to get drunk.
In other words, future sports will be fucking awesome.
Pauli Poisuo is a Cracked weekly columnist and freelance editor. Here he is on Facebook and Twitter.
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