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.

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Norway’s skiing edge risks others giving up

Norway’s total dominance of this year’s Nordic skiing World Cup has been slammed as "financial doping” by sponsorship consultant Jacob Lund, one of the most powerful people in Norwegian sports, who warns it risks destroying interest in other countries.

Norway's skiing edge risks others giving up
Maiken Caspersen Falla cheers with Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (left) after winning the final in freestyle team sprint for women at Lugnet ski stadium in Falun Sunday. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB
Five days into the competition, Norway has taken 11 medals, with Germany, the runner-up, on five and Sweden on three. 
And while Norway has won six golds, Sweden has won none. 
“This is unfortunately bad news,” said Lund, who for 20 years managed sponsorship for DNB bank. “Nobody else besides Norwegians can be bothered to watch a sport where Norway wins almost everything.” 
He said that the Norwegian Ski Federation is at the moment able to massively outspend its counterparts in other countries, giving Norway a near unbeatable edge, which in turn meant more sponsorship money coming to Norway.  
“It ensures that Norway will continue going forward to have far more resources than the competition,” he said. “But it is obvious that this also increases the risk that other nations will give up and throw in the cards.” 
As German viewers lose interest in the competition, big international companies such as BMW, Milka and Ruhrgas will see less and less reason to back the sport he warned. 
“The worst for the international sponsors is if the media in other countries loses interest,” he said. “European sponsors will not pay for something that is not being shown on TV.” 
In the run-up to the World Cup, there were already discussions on whether limits should be imposed on how much financial support each skier can benefit from, as a way to cut down the Norwegian advantage.