Norway gold medallist was doping 'suspect'
Norwegian cross country skier Anders Aukland was suspected of doping at the time he won gold with Norway's relay team at the 2002 Winter Olympics, a Swedish investigative documentary claimed on Wednesday.
According to the report by SVT's Uppdrag Granskning programme, Aukland was the only Norwegian on a list of twelve men and eight women who the International Ski Federation believed had 'suspicious' blood levels at the time of the Olympics in Salt Lake City.
"I feel they have created suspicion out of nothing," Aukland complained to Norway's NRK channel. "It is normal to have high blood levels at altitude. I am one of several skiers who naturally get it, but I have never been notified that they were too high."
"I have several times been over 18 and I have about 16 normally," he admitted to Norway's Dagladet newspaper. "High blood levels are the also the result of being at high altitude. That's why we train at altitude."
After SVT broke the story, VG newspaper reported that another Norwegian skier, Tore Ruud Hofstad, was also on a list of suspected athletes in 2005.
Professor Bengt Saltin, a Swedish doctor who was at the time the head of the federation's medical committee, told the paper that he had been dismayed by the response of the Norwegian ski establishment when he had come to investigate.
"In Norway, the atmosphere was aggressive and dismissive," he said. "It did not happen when I met leaders of other nations who were also on the list."