SWEDEN – A verbal war is still raging between the two queens of the Olympics, Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) and Marit Bjoergen (NOR), where the former repeatedly is accusing the latter of abusing asthma medicine. Now, Bjoergen is getting support from an unexpected place – the third Olympic queen, Charlotte Kalla (SWE), who is stepping in to defend the Norwegian from the recent attacks.
The 23-year-old Swede criticized the 27-year-old Kowalczyk, who claimed recently that Bjoergen, 30, is cheating her way to better results. And it’s not the first time that the Polish racer has lashed out at Bjoergen. Kowalczyk has publicly accused Bjoergen of doping several times. Charlotte Kalla is frustrated that Kowalczyk goes after Bjoergen for her asthma medicine yet again.
“That’s her own opinion. I don’t really want to waste my energy on this topic. There are so many other things that are so much more important,” Kalla told VG Nett.
“Someone said it really well: Nobody accuses you of doping if you have bad eyesight and use glasses. It doesn’t give you super-vision or any other advantage. Using glasses simply levels the playing field and lets you see as well as everyone else in the race,” said Kalla, leaving the interpretation up to the newspaper.
“Asthma medicines just fix a deficiency and bring everyone on a level playing field. I can’t determine whether this person or that person has asthma, that’s the physicians’ job, and Marit has her paperwork in order,” Kalla said.
When VG Nett met Kalla in Ramsau, Austria, she declined to discuss Kowalczyk’s attack on Bjoergen any further. Even Marit Bjoergen is tired of talking about her asthma medication, and the Norwegian Ski Association officials have shown documentation that her treatments are cleared.
Justyna Kowalczyk launched her attack on Bjoergen through the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.
“I prepare for racing on the trails, not at the pharmacy,” Kowalczyk told the newspaper.
Bjoergen told the Norwegian newspaper Nettavisen that she has nothing to hide. “I don’t let this affect me. There is nothing fishy about this. I have all my paperwork in order, and I’ve put this issue behind me.
One thing is certain: The 2011 World Championships in Oslo will be intense, and three of the Olympic gold medalists from Whistler 2010 are already getting warmed up.
From Langd.se, October 14, 2010 by Kjell Erik Kristiansen, translation by Inge Scheve
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.