– It’s shocking to hear about people who have fallen ill in their quest to get better, elite men’s national team coach Eric Mer-Nossum tells Dagbladet.
On Sunday, Dagbladet wrote about Eva Ingebrigsten (17 years old) who thought she would 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.
Dagbladet also recently mentioned several national team players in the 1980s who suffered from anorexia. In an age where the problem is not talked about or addressed, according to many women.
The coach of the national team, who was born in the 1980s, says he does not know very well what things were like at the time. However, he believes that the level of knowledge has gone up since then.
– I feel that the level of knowledge has improved in the whole society, as well as in sports, which is at least a good start. Mehr Nasoom says people with eating disorders are too many.
– First of all, it’s just complimenting Eva for her excellence. I’m not a doctor or a psychologist or anything like that, but I think it’s good to speak up and spread their story. Not only because he can help others, but also because he can help himself.
You don’t know the exact cause of Eva’s disease. But a comment from an adult, when a teammate ran ten seconds faster than her in field practice, was suspended, she tells Dagbladet.
“It is not strange, she is light in her body,” Al-Rashed was said to have said without thinking.
Nasoom believes that hanging on the body, in the context of a performance, can be very dangerous.
– You probably have a part that allows it to pass. Then you want instances where someone takes themselves, or in this case, where you hear someone talking about someone else and they take it. It might be something that starts off as a snowball and isn’t so lucky at all, says Nossum, before continuing:
In puberty, you are at a weak age, where I think such things can be much more dangerous. But of course you have to be careful about it, no matter where people are in their careers.
– wrong impression
The turning point for Eva came when her father, Ronnie Ingbrigsten, set foot in and refused to raise his daughter.
However, he does not feel that eating disorders were a topic on the part of the association. and cross-country director at the Espen Bjerwig Ski Association, She admits she wasn’t good enough to report the sport’s eating disorder to the skate company in Norway. But I think they have a good enough offer if the clubs use it.
When Nossum speaks on behalf of himself and his team, he thinks the national team has misunderstood his openness to food and training.
– I think we misunderstood our openness about it. I thought we were very open, says Newsom, following on from an episode that happened recently:
– Won’t go back a few weeks ago where we were on a program where they made bowls and variety. Then they almost apologize because we didn’t eat? But I don’t know how many bags of cake and bars of chocolate athletes put in them, almost every day. That’s a lot.
– What do you think of this response?
– I think it comes from the fact that people have a great image of us as the best athletes. They have the wrong impression. Then you come to this with faith. It’s easy to believe that the most important thing for athletes is to be fit, to be skinny, to have six bags, or to look skinny. They are skinny people compared to the average weight in Norway, and you put a lot of value on that. In fact, it’s just the result of us practicing a lot.
– How did we manage that? We’ve made sure to have buckets and buckets available for power. Other than that, we wouldn’t have been able to train that much, Nosum concludes, who at the same time notes that as an elite national team they could get better at sharing how daily life coaches really at the top level.
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.
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