December 3, 2021

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A nation with sick skin – – some seek borders

For nearly a year, Dagbladet, using new journalistic methods and through hundreds of human encounters, has investigated the extent of disordered eating and eating disorders in our national cross-country ski and biathlon sport.

Tonight, slimming pressure in sports is the topic of the NRK debate, which you can watch on Dagbladet TV from 21.20.

Among the participants in the discussion is Astrid Orenholdt Jacobsen.

Did you feel pressured yourself, asks debate leader Frederic Solvang.

– No, I cannot recognize myself in the pressure described by the technical staff, which prevailed long before I entered the world of suburbia, she answers.

She asserts that there is no doubt that the problem is relevant.

– My experience is that the coaches have rather worked in the opposite direction in my career, encouraging increased energy consumption.

But I think it is in the nature of many sports that some of them apply across borders and some also apply across borders.

She says she saw such problems “in her time”, too.

– It would be a lie to say otherwise.

– What I saw?

– Maybe it’s the people who are struggling. You struggle with different things in life. In top sports, you see someone struggling to stay healthy from viruses or colds, or exercising too much or too little. Then there are some who struggle to find balance when it comes to nutritional intake, body optimization, and training intensity, she answers.

Weighs 36 pounds

Sissel Bjerkenås, who was on the national cross-country skiing team in the 1980s, has She told Dagbladet that she was down to 36 kilograms at worst.

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Ski legend Oddvar Brå remembers Bjerkenås as being The first to see who had big problems. Pål Gunnar Mikkelsplass, who was among the best Norwegian sprinters of the 1980s, also told Dagbladet that he remembers Bjerkenås in case he fell ill.

Perkinos is not alone. Eli Erin Husum and Lynn Gran (formerly Pedersen), both former national team runners in the 1980s, He appeared on Dagbladet and told about eating disorders.

Hilde Gjermundshaug Pedersen said the weight comments were very hurtful She had had enough of the cross-country skiing community in her early twenties and changed the sport.

match: Sissel Bjerkenås fought for the gold medal in the NM junior and national team. Then she had to fight for her life. Video: Hans Arne Vedlog. Reporter: Mart Niloken Hellseth.
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– I didn’t get much help

In an interview with Dagbladet, an 80s women’s cross-country coach, Dag Kaas . said He developed an eating disorder “in an unknown location.” When he became coach of the junior national team in 1977, but at that time there was almost no knowledge of the disease anywhere.

– We contacted the doctors at Ullevål and Aker hospitals. We didn’t get much help, because they decided this was a very difficult sick area, and it was completely new to them and us.

He said the national team management tried to “create a balanced entity”.

This means that if you exercise better and eat healthier to find your ideal weight, some people can lose weight, some people can maintain the weight and some people can gain weight.

– ugly numbers

A Dagbladet poll among women national team players in cross-country skiing in the early 1980s, which was answered by 31 out of a total of 40 athletes, showed that 35% say they have an eating disorder during his cross-country career. 42 percent of respondents said they had experienced weight loss pressure from team management, and 69 percent said they had lost their period during their skating career.

– it is exciting. These are ugly numbers, and more than I thought, first vice president of the Norwegian Sports Federation (NIF) Vibeki Sorensen said recently. In an interview with Dagbladet.

Dagbladet performed DEXA measurements to investigate the long-term effects of eating disorders. The result was disappointing. Photo: Langsem/Vedlog. Reporter: Mart Niloken Hellseth.
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Dagbladet’s X-ray examinations showed that traces of eating disorders were still present in many of the former practitioners’ bodies.

Of the 31 in-depth Dagbladet interviews, nine signed up to join the poll. Six of the cross-country skiers who were screened had or had low bone density – osteoporosis or osteoporosis.

According to Chief Medical Officer and Professor Annette Helen Rahnhoff, osteoporosis is a chronic condition that must be monitored for life.

In 2020, Dagbladet received an anonymous letter about alleged and widespread problems with disordered eating behavior up and down the classes in Norwegian cross-country skiing. Many in the community spoke loosely of the same thing. But those were just individual allegations and stories. No one has researched this field in 16 years.

Was it really that bad? We wanted to investigate. For nearly a year, Dagbladet, using new journalistic methods and through hundreds of human encounters, has investigated the extent of disordered eating and eating disorders in our national cross-country ski and biathlon sport.

We performed extensive and certified x-ray measurements, hormonal testing and psychological testing for documentation. We have also studied the long-term effects of several years of nutritional deficiencies among athletes. Dagbladet also used proprietary technology and analyzed large amounts of data in the search for answers.
What we found didn’t just confirm the rumours. It was much worse.

Experts say the results are grim. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be telling a completely unknown story about Norway’s national sport – and documenting it.

Read all cases here