Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug has been suspended by the Sports Confederation of Norway for a period of 13 months after she tested positive for an anabolic steroid.

The suspension imposed on Johaug is a month shorter than the Norwegian Anti-Doping Organization’s proposed ban on her for 14 months. The one-month reduction will allow Johaug, a seven-time world champion, to participate in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February 2018.

The 28-year-old skier was given a temporary suspension after she tested positive for traces of the anabolic steroid Clostebol, banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), during an out-of-competition drug test on September 16th. Johaug claimed the steroid was contained in a lip cream called Trofodermin that was used by her on the recommendation of the team doctor to treat burns during a training session at high altitude in Italy in late August.

National ski team doctor Fredrik Bendiksen had insisted that he did not realized the cream contained Clostebol. Bendiksen took the full responsibility and resigned from his post in October.

Norwegian Ski Association President Erik Roste said it was a difficult day for Therese and Norwegian cross-country skiing. The President of Norway’s skiing federation said this is an unreal situation for him and many others. Roste said to stand here and clarify that one of the most wonderful athletes we have has been suspended for 13 months seems so unreal.

Johaug will be able to resume competition in November if the suspension is upheld. The ban was backdated to October 18, 2016, making Johaug’s return date November 18, 2017. She would now be eligible in time for next season’s World Cup and the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

The Norwegian Anti-Doping Organization, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Olympic Committee, Johaug, and the International Ski Federation all have the possibility to launch an appeal.

A member of the international ski federation FIS’ board reportedly told media in Finland that an appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Switzerland (CAS) was likely. FIS board member Martti Uusitalo said it is very likely we will appeal based on discussions on the FIS board. Uusitalo remarked the 13-month suspension was not based on either the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) or the legal principles and precedent set by the CAS. Uusitalo added it is therefore best for all parts that the CAS investigate the case thoroughly and that we get a fair conclusion.

Johaug’s manager, Jorn Ernst, remarked that Johaug, her lawyer and others  would review the verdict and would then considered the thought of filing a review with the CAS. There is a risk the CAS could extend her suspension on any appeal. Ernst said there is a fear that the Olympics will be lost for Therese also if the verdict is appealed and the suspension is lengthened and added we as of now are looking forward to the Olympics.

Johaug has won seven world championship and two overall World Cup titles. She won gold in the 4×5-kilometer relay at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and earned a bronze and silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Games.

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