Therese Johaug is out of the PyeongChang Olympics – but not out of newspaper headlines with media sharply divided over a 29 year old Norwegian’s role in modern cross country skiing.
The latest episode was sparked by the visit of Ms. Johaug to Samlehuset, a local company ( but a branch of international powerhouse in its field). Samlerhuset Norge is a distributor of various collectibles best known for its succesful promotion & direct marketing of official Olympic coins.
While there, an Olympic champion of Vancouver, who is missing the upcoming Games through doping suspension, was asked to write a greeting – which she promptly did on a booklet advertizing 2000 Korean Won, an Olympic edition special.
” I will be back” reads the skier’s message (in English), accompanied by a smiley
Samlehuset, for its part, announced that “the signed note will be released as part of the official coin and banknote program for South Korea in line with the Olympic tradition”
Moreover, there will be a golden coin minted by Samlehustet for Therese with a nominal value of 20,000 won “to give her further motivation to work towards new gold medals in the future” ( we are not sure how’s that that the Norwegian mint issues Korean currency – even if it’s purely symbolic – but that’s not the point)
The news did not get much play in Norway – but Polish sport publication Sportowe Fakty labeled a decision to promote a skier banned for doping as “absurd”
Swedish Expressen is less outwardly critical, but makes sure readers remember why Johaug has to miss the Olympics
Johaug remains hugely popular among her Norwegian – and many international – fans. She’s set to restart competing when her ban expires in April 2018, a few weeks after the Olympics’ end.
Top photo courtesy of Samlerhuset.no