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World’s top cross-country skier banned 13 months, can return for Olympics

FIS Nordic World Cup - Men's and Women's Cross Country Tour de Ski

VAL DI FIEMME, ITALY - JANUARY 10: (FRANCE OUT) Therese Johaug of Norway takes 1st place during the FIS Nordic World Cup Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Tour de Ski on January 10, 2016 in Val di Fiemme, Italy. (Photo by Stanko Gruden/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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Norwegian Therese Johaug, the reigning World Cup cross-country skiing champion, received a backdated 13-month ban for testing positive in September for a steroid found in a lip balm she said she took unknowingly.

Johaug, 28, will sit out the entire 2016-17 season but can return in the 2017-18 season, including the PyeongChang Winter Games, where she will be a top medal threat. The 13-month ban was backdated to Oct. 18, according to Norway’s Olympic Committee.

Johaug won individual silver and bronze medals in Sochi, three gold medals at the 2015 World Championships and the 2015-16 World Cup season title.

Johaug said in October that she tested positive due to a lotion given to her by a Norwegian team doctor to treat sun burn on her lips. She has been provisionally banned ever since. The doctor resigned.

“I am not guilty. I asked the 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 Associated Press. “And he said no.”

MORE: PyeongChang Winter Olympics daily schedule highlights