Cala revealed in her autobiography, released last week, that she suffered from heart rhythm disturbances during the opening match of the World Cup in Roca in 2016. The day before, the Swedish star had started using asthma medication, after being diagnosed with asthma in late 2016. Autumn .
Later, it was concluded that the heart problems could have been caused by a combination of asthma medications and caffeine tablets and that she was the first competition of the season.
“We chose not to talk openly about the fact that I tested my asthma medication before the race in Roca. Even the other runners on the national team didn’t know it, and I didn’t dare say anything to them,” Cala says in the book.
In an interview with NRK, she explains why:
– Because between the summer and fall, there was a lot of discussion about the use of asthma medication. So, it wasn’t appropriate to say what I suspected was the reason, she says.
Sundby was convicted
The debate she referred to was about the use of asthma medications in cross-country skiing in Norway. In July of that year, it became known that Martin Johnsrud Sundby had received a doping conviction for improper use of asthma medications.
Norwegian cross-country skiers have been under attack for several years – Marit Bjørgen being the most prominent among them – for their use of asthma medications.
Regarding the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Biogen’s arch-rival, Justyna Kowalczyk, sent the following jab via Polish media: “I’m preparing on the slopes, not in the pharmacy.”
In the wake of the Sundby case, a committee was formed to investigate the use of asthma medications in cross-country skiing in Norway. This has not gone unnoticed in other countries where cross-country skiing is a major sport.
He met the doping label
When Norwegian cross-country skiers arrived at the World Cup opener in Ruka, Finland, they were greeted with a poster reading “Norwegian GDR Ski Team = Doping Team.”
It was the same poster that greeted Calla with when she had to test her asthma medication. That’s why you didn’t say anything.
– Did you feel that at that time the use of asthma medications was taboo?
– Yes, there were many questions surrounding the topic, and a large focus was on the use of asthma medications.
Björgen felt this taboo strongly on his body. Therefore, she could understand that Kala did not go ahead with it.
– Yes, I can to some extent. After all, this topic was about me and my asthma treatment that started in 2011. There has been a lot of negativity about it and a lot of writing about it, she tells NRK.
Bjørgen: – We took all the blame
At the same time, Björgen does not hide the fact that she wishes Kala had done the opposite.
– CI think Norway shouldered a lot of the burden, because I knew firsthand that there were many other countries and athletes who used asthma medications and never progressed. “We’re the ones who take all the blame, and we mime in the air when you say that,” she says. “flaw”.
Bjørgen says she constantly saw athletes from other countries taking medications in the warm-up and kick-off area.
– So I knew it. We couldn’t say it, but I wish people would come forward and be more open about it, the all-time winningest cross country runner admits.
She herself has been open about her use of medications throughout her career, even when she had to get a medical exemption from doping rules so she could use medication that worked for her.
– I I felt it was good to be honest about it, I knew I had everything covered, I was approved by the FIS and passed the exams. “I was so sad that I was approved to study medicine,” says Björgen.
Kala: – They were allowed to stand in the firing line
Calla also had a low point when she started taking asthma medications in 2016. But she revealed in the book that she had also taken asthma medications earlier in her career. Then she abandoned it, because her own experience proved that it was not necessary.
He says: In the face of Björgen’s statements Charlotte Kalla said she never thought athletes from other countries should apply.
– But you are right, DrWe must stand in the line of fire and answer questions, even though taking asthma medications is very common among cross-country runners, Kalla tells NRK.
Concerned about young asthma patients
Research is ongoing into whether asthma medication can have a performance-improving effect in athletes who do not have asthma.
Both Bjørgen and Kalla can confirm that it has an effect on asthma patients, who without medication are forced to compete with reduced lung capacity. That’s why Björgen wants to remove the taboo.
– There is a lot of negativity around it, and it can affect young athletes who need it, but don’t dare to use it. It would be a bit like Charlotte, who doesn’t dare say she’s shrunk to the point of needing medication, which is a shame. “I like us to be honest and open about things,” says Marit Bjørgen.
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