We cannot have a sport that destroys people and makes them sick. We want a healthy sport. Even if everything in the sport is unhealthy, you can try to make it as healthy as possible, Swedish cross-country manager Anders Bystrom tells Dagbladet.
Sunday night, Dagbladet wrote about cross-country talent Eva Ingebrigsten (17), who thought she’d be a better cross-country skater if she lost a few kilos.
This was the beginning of a vicious cycle, in which she finally did not dare to stop losing weight. Eventually, she developed anorexia nervosa. It weighs 43 pounds. Menstruation stopped for two and a half years.
– I’ve always been very determined, so I came up with the idea that I’d be a better cross-country skater if I lost a little weight, just one kilogram. But once you start, don’t you dare stop. Eva said my fear was gaining weight.
– It is clearly intimidating to read about such a young girl who ends up in such a situation, says the Swedish cross-country manager, Bystrom, before continuing:
– At the same time, it opens the eyes of many, which means that we must tackle this problem. I think the most important thing is openness. And that we dedicate knowledge to both coaches and active people about how important it is to have adequate energy.
Bystrom, who from 2014 to 2019 was Norway’s national team coach, notes that being open about how to get the right energy balance is something they are also working with in Sweden.
However, the pressure on Norwegian cross-country skiers is believed to be greater. Both due to recruitment and massive interest in Norwegian national sports. For this reason, there are more who want to narrow the boundaries, which could eventually end up turning to the side of the disease, he believes. Bystrom.
It is clear that there are probably many who would like to take quick steps forward without building the base model. Then it will be easy to cross some limits, he says.
The head coach of the Norwegian men’s elite team, Eric Mer-NesomHe also thinks it’s shocking to hear about Eva Ingbrigstein’s history of anorexia. He also deals with self-criticism on behalf of himself and the team, about how open they are to diet and exercise.
– I think we misunderstood our openness about it. “I thought we were very open,” Nossum told Dagbladet on Monday.
The Sweden manager agrees that elite teams should be better at being open about diet and training, as he points out the importance of security within the team. Something important to be able to talk about everything, including diet.
It is very important not to make food something dangerous. We need energy to be able to train as much as we need to. Also to build strength. That’s with the fact that you have to be very light all the time, I don’t quite understand where it’s coming from. Our sport today is a complex sport where you have to have different types and different characteristics, he says.
We must create safe environments where everyone is safe. Helps make this more secure.
Fear of people feeling bad
Bystrom hopes there won’t be many suffering in the same way Eva did. He says the hope is that the sport has progressed further.
– But you obviously always fear people will feel bad, and you want everyone to feel good. We have to make sure everyone is okay. It is not only about food, but also about mental health. man He saw during the Summer Olympics that there were some strong athletes who came out and said they weren’t very healthy. Bystrom concludes that I think we need to talk about that as much as we talk about food and energy.
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 have 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.
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