OSLO, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Norway's cross-country ski star Therese Johaug was banned for 13 months for doping, newspaper Aftenposten reported Friday.
Johaug said she is was not sure whether she would appeal the verdict that was announced on Friday afternoon.
According to the verdict, Johaug lost the right to participate in competitions and organized training, as well as the right to hold any honorary positions until Nov. 18, 2017, as the ban was backdated to Oct. 18 last year.
If the verdict remains, she could still compete in the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea in 2018.
It was made public in October that Johaug had tested positive for the anabolic steroid clostebol, which she said was in a cream given to her by the team doctor to treat sunburn on her lips earlier the year.
In a press release Friday afternoon Johaug said that she was glad that adjudication committee saw that there had been no performance-enhancing intent or effect of the use of lip cream.
She was also pleased that the committee agreed that she had no reason to doubt the assurances she got from the national team doctor Fredrik S. Bendiksen.
"I understand that the rules must be strict, but still think it is difficult to understand that what I have done leads to thirteen-month exclusion. I will spend the next few days to think about what to do next with my lawyer," Johaug said.
Johaug's lawyer Christian Hjort said that it was a different result than expected.
"In that sense I am disappointed," Hjort said. "We will spend the next few days to find out what to do next. We need to digest the situation and decide the case in its entirety."
On Instagram Johaug has posted a message to her followers, showing what is in her thoughts now: the five Olympic rings.
Anti-doping Norway official, Niels Kiaer, stressed that "the important part of the judgement was setting a personal responsibility of the athlete, which is important for the future anti-doping work."
He said that prosecuting committee would take a few days to consider whether to appeal the verdict, considering the suspension is one month shorter than sought by the Anti-doping Norway.
Kiaer added that he was unsure whether international organizations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Ski Federation (FIS) would appeal.
"They must have heard about the result so far. The verdict will be translated into English and sent to them. We will see when they receive the reasoning for the verdict and not only the length of the exclusion to refer to," he said.
"This is first of all a difficult day for Therese and the Norwegian cross-country team. We are in despair over how Therese is doing and feel compassion for her," said president of Norwegian Ski Federation Erik Roste. Enditem