Northug takes gold in stunning comeback

Norwegian skiing legend Petter Northug has pulled off one of the great comebacks in sporting history, taking gold in the cross-country sprint at the Nordic skiing world championships on Thursday.

Northug takes gold in stunning comeback
Petter Northug in tears on the pedastal in Falun. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt/NTB Scanpix
“This gold means everything. I can not describe how much it means to me,” Northug said as he stood on the podium in Falun, Sweden, his face streaming with tears of joy and relief. 
The gold brings an end to several years of disappointing form for the 29-year-old, which saw him fail to win a single medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February. 
In October, he was sentenced to 50 days in prison for drunk driving, after crashing his Audi in the early hours of the morning outside Trondheim in May. 
Northug suddenly picked up speed entering the final straight, opening a gap on Canada’s Alex Harvey which he only managed to hold to the finish by lunging forward at the line. 
According to Norway’s NRK channel, Northug dropped to the ground immediately after finishing, where his brother Tomas, who was also competing, came to join him. 
The two brothers lay hugging and sobbing for several minutes, before Tomas helped his brother to his feet. 
Northug then hugged all his opponents, and then waved, kissed and bowed to the Swedish public. 
“After what happened in spring, I knew that there was one thing I owed those around me,” Northug said later in the studio. “I had to show the Norwegian people that it is possible to rise up again,” he said. 
The drama of Northug’s comeback crowned a glorious day for Norway in which the country took four out of the six medals on offer, with the country’s top female cross-country skier Marit Bjørgen also taking gold. 
Bjørgen has already won more medals than any other female cross country skier in history. 

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Norway ski star admits drug problems after cocaine bust

Following a speeding offence which led to a house search that found cocaine, former Norwegian cross-country ski star Petter Northug, said on Friday he had a "serious problem" with alcohol and drugs.

Norway ski star admits drug problems after cocaine bust
Petter Northug admits 'serious problems' at a press conference on Friday. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB Scanpix / AFP
Police clocked Northug at 168 kilometres per hour (105mph) at the wheel of his Jaguar near Oslo on August 13.
Suspecting that he was driving under the influence – the tests have not yet been processed – police searched Northug's home and found the cocaine.   
“I have a serious problem with alcohol, drugs and medication in connection with, at times, big parties and there have been a lot of parties,” the 34-year-old told a press conference. 
Apologising “to all concerned”, he said he was “ready to accept the sentence”, after he is tried.
In 2014, Northug was jailed for 50 days, a sentence mostly served with an electronic bracelet, fined and banned from driving for five years, after crashing while driving under the influence.
On Friday, he said the alcohol and drug problems began after his retirement from sport in 2018. He said he has sought professional help.
Among the best cross-country skiers in history, Northug won four Olympic medals, all in 2010 and including two golds. He collected 13 World Championship golds between 2007 and 2015 and won three World Cup globes, including two as overall champion.