Johaug suspended over doping

Anti-Doping Norway says the skier “cannot be said to have acted without guilt”

Photo: Bjoertvedt / Wikimedia Commons Therese Johaug leading women’s 30 km at the 17 km turn in the World Ski Championship 2011.

Photo: Bjoertvedt / Wikimedia Commons
Therese Johaug leading women’s 30 km at the 17 km turn in the World Ski Championship 2011.

Charlotte Bryan & Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

Anti-Doping Norway has suspended Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug for two months. The matter may also have consequences for the national team’s former doctor.

The move follows a urine test undertaken in Oslo on September 16, in which Clostebol was found. A second test confirmed the first’s findings. Johaug was informed by Anti-Doping Norway on October 4.

Clostebol, a synthetic androgenic steroid in doping class SQ.1A, is on the list of prohibited substances issued by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The substance has anabolic effects and is frequently used in sports to increase physical performance.

It had entered her system due to using a cream called Trofodermin on one of her lips, according to the Norwegian Ski Federation. This occurred in Italy while conducting altitude training with the cross-country team in August of this year.

Fredrik Bendiksen, the team’s doctor, bought the cream and gave it to Johaug. He tendered his immediate resignation after news of the positive test surfaced.

Johaug alleged that she had asked him “if the cream was on the doping list and was told ‘no.’”

“I used it as directed by him. I trusted him completely,” Dagbladet reported her as saying. “I had absolutely no reason not to trust what he told me.”

Clostebol 17β-acetate (a derivative of Clostebol) is reported as being an ingredient of Trofodermin in Italy and Brazil.

Norwegian media report that Johaug’s lawyer, Christian B. Hjort, said that she had received both the tube of cream and its external packaging. The packaging sold in Italy has a red symbol with the word “doping” on it.

Johaug’s suspension lasts until December 18, 2016.

In a statement issued on October 19, Anti-Doping Norway writes that “the reason for the decision is that the prosecuting committee is of the opinion that the athlete (Johaug) cannot be said to have acted without guilt.”

They also summoned Dr. Fredrik Bendiksen to give his account.

He stated that he had bought the Trofodermin cream at a pharmacy in Livigno. The doctor also confirmed that he had given it to Johaug without investigating whether it contained ingredients on the doping list. Moreover, he informed the committee that he had told her that using it was okay when she asked him about it.

They have decided that proceedings can be opened against Dr. Bendiksen “for a possible violation of doping rules.”

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.

It also appeared in the Nov. 4, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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