In 2016, Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug made her positive doping test public. We compare how the Norwegian and Swedish media covered the ensuing scandal with the aim of discovering how constructions of subjectivity, national identity, anti-doping policy and the role of cross-country skiing are interrelated. Drawing on a critical discourse analytical research design, we identify significant differences: the Norwegian media hesitated to call it a doping scandal and occasionally portrayed Johaug as a victim, whereas the Swedish media provided a platform for harsh criticism of the Norwegian’s use of medicine and emphasised the individual responsibility of the athlete. Thus, this study elucidates how sport is mediated as part of a national rivalry between two Scandinavian countries that are both heavily engaged in cross-country skiing.
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