Swedes mock Northug with ‘consolation medal’

Petter Northug was awarded a 'consolation medal' by Sweden's Expressen newspaper outside the Olympic village in Sochi on Sunday, as the tabloid continued its merciless mockery of the Norwegian cross-country ski star.

Swedes mock Northug with 'consolation medal'
Petter Northug with his 'consolation medal' on Sunday - Photo: Expressen
Northug, who has in the past missed no opportunity to taunt his Swedish rivals, took the ribbing in good spirit.
"This feels great," he said, posing with the medal and laughing, according to the newspaper
Norway's most famous cross-country skier finished the men's 50km mass start on Sunday in 18th place, disappointing even in the context of his medal-less Olympics. 
"Sweden has had a good championship, and there are going to be great expectations around them at home," Northug said, "In everything before the Olympics, we were the best, but they were the best as a team throughout the Olympics," he said.
Norway narrowly missed a medal in the men's 50km with Martin Johnsrud Sundby taking fourth place, behind the Russian trio of Alexander Legkov, Maxim Vylegzhanin, and Ilia Chernousov, who took gold, silver and bronze respectively. 
Northug was philosophical about his poor performance throughout the games. 
"It's terribly frustrating not to be competitive in a championship," he told NRK, blaming his poor performance on the virus which prevented him from training over the summer. 
"Here in the Olympics, I was missing my final gear all the way. I will not stand here and blame it on something, but it might have something to do with losing three months of training in the summer." 
"There is no point in digging down," he said. "It is better to stand up and come back and show that you can stand on top again."

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.