Norway ski star banned from Olympics over lip cream
Norwegian cross-country skiing champion Therese Johaug is set to miss the PyeongChang Olympics over lip cream.
Johaug, a triple Olympic medalist and seven-time world champion, tested positive last September for a steroid found in a cream given to her by a team doctor to treat sunburned lips.
Johaug claimed the doctor told her it was OK to use, but she failed to check clear warning labels and was suspended all last season up to this November.
On Tuesday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport extended her current doping ban into April, through the Olympics in February.
The court ruling came after an appeal by the International Ski Federation, which felt the original 13-month ban handed down by Norwegian sports officials was too lenient.
“I am heartbroken,” a tearful Johaug said at a news conference within an hour of the announcement, according to The Associated Press. “I had a dream to get to the Olympics. I think it is unfair, I feel I was unfairly treated.”
Norway’s Olympic Committee had previously banned the 29-year-old from October 2016 to November 2017, saying she was not at significant fault.
“I am not guilty. I asked the [team] doctor, and he said it was not on the doping list,” Johaug said at an Oct. 19 news conference, wiping tears away with her hands (video here), according to the AP. “And he said no.”
In March, the International Ski Federation appealed for a longer ban of 16 to 20 months, which would rule her out of the Winter Games. The federation argued that Johaug deserved more fault in part because the medication was “unknown to her and was purchased in a foreign country.”
A Court of Arbitration for Sport panel decided to give Johaug an 18-month ban for her negligence in missing a clear warning label listing the banned substance.
“Johaug failed to conduct a basic check of the packaging, which not only listed a prohibited substance as an ingredient but also included clear doping cautionary warning,” the court said in a press release.
Though Johaug had an “otherwise clean anti-doping record,” the panel chose to follow the letter of the World Anti-Doping Code, which calls for a 12-to-24-month suspension in this type of case.
Johaug was the world’s top cross-country skier in 2015-16, winning the World Cup overall title.
In her absence, two other Norwegians starred last season -- Heidi Weng and 10-time Olympic medalist Marit Bjoergen, who was coming back from childbirth.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!