The Fall of the Queen of Nordic Skiing

A comparative analysis of the Swedish and Norwegian media coverage of the Therese Johaug scandal

Open access

Abstract

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.

Adut, A. (2005). A theory of scandal: Victorians, homosexuality, and the fall of Oscar Wilde. American Journal of Sociology, 111(1): 213-248.

Allern, S. & Pollack, E. (2012) Mediated scandals. In S. Allern & E. Pollack (eds.), Scandalous! The mediated construction of political scandals in four Nordic countries (pp. 9-28). Gothenburg: Nordicom.

Amegashie, J. A. (2006). The 2002 winter Olympics scandal: Rent-seeking and committees. Social Choice and Welfare, 26(1): 183-189.

Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined communities: Reflections on the spread and origin of nationalism. London: Verso.

Bairner, A. (2010). What’s Scandinavian about Scandinavian sport? Sport in Society, 13(4): 734-743.

Bairner, A. (2015). Assessing the sociology of sport: On national identity and nationalism. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 50(4-5): 375-379.

BBC (2015, August 20). Doping in sport: What is it and how is it being tackled? BBC Sport. Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/sport/athletics/33997246 [access day 2018, July 14].

Bie, B. & Billings, A. C. (2015). “Too good to be true?”: US and Chinese media coverage of Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen in the 2012 Olympic Games. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 50(7): 785-803.

Blackwell, J. (1991). Discourses on drug use: The social construction of a steroid scandal. Journal of Drug Issues, 21(1): 147-164.

Boyle, R. & Haynes, R. (2009). Power play: Sport, the media and popular culture (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Cavalho, A. (2008). Media(ted) discourse and society: Rethinking the framework of critical discourse analysis. Journalism Studies, 9(2): 161-177.

Carstairs, C. (2003). The wide world of doping: Drug scandals, natural bodies, and the business of sports entertainment, Addiction Research & Theory, 11(4): 263-281.

Chouliaraki, L. & Fairclough, N. (1999). Discourse in late modernity: Rethinking critical discourse analysis. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Christiansen, A. V. (2005). The legacy of Festina: Patterns of drug use in European cycling since 1998. Sport in History, 25(3): 497-514.

Dimeo, P. (2014). Why Lance Armstrong? Historical context and key turning points in the ‘cleaning up’ of professional cycling. International Journal of the History of Sport, 31(8): 951-968.

Efverström, A., Ahmadi, N., Hoff, D. & Bäckström, Å. (2016). Anti-doping and legitimacy: An international survey of elite athletes’ perceptions. International Journal of Sport Policy & Politics, 8(3): 491-514.

Elbe, A.-M. & Overbye, M. (2014). Urine doping controls: The athletes’ perspective. International Journal of Sport Policy & Politics, 6(2): 227-240.

Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing discourse: Textual analysis for social research. London: Routledge.

Ferstle, J. (2001). World conference on Doping in Sport. In W. Wilson & E. Derse (eds.), Doping in elite sport (pp. 275-286). Champaign: Human Kinetics.

Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge. New York: Pantheon Books.

Goksøyr, M. (2005). “Og så ein svensk-norsk landskamp! Ein bliver så patriotisk i slike stunder”: Norsksvenske idrettsforbindelser etter 1905 [“And then a Swedish-Norwegian derby! One becomes so patriotic at such times”: Norwegian-Swedish sports relations after 1905]. In Ø. Sørensen & T. Nilsson (eds.), Norsk-svenske relationer i 200 år [Norwegian-Swedish relations for 200 years] (pp. 72-86). Oslo: Aschehoug.

Gotaas, T. (2013). Femmila [50K]. Oslo: Gyldendal.

Grix, J. & Houlihan, B. (2014). Sport mega-events as part of a nation’s soft power strategy: The cases of Germany (2006) and the UK (2012). The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 16(4): 572-596.

Hanstad, D. V. (2008). Drug scandal and organizational change within the International Ski Federation: A figurational approach. European Sport Management Quarterly, 8(4): 379-398.

Hanstad, D. V., Smith, A. & Waddington, I. (2008). The establishment of the World Anti-Doping Agency: A study of the management of organizational change and unplanned outcome. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 43(3): 227-249.

Hanstad, D. V., Skille, E. & Loland, S. (2010). Harmonization of anti-doping work: Myth or reality? Sport in Society, 13(3): 418-430.

Hanstad D. V. & Loland, S. (2009). Elite athletes’ duty to provide information on their whereabouts: Justifiable anti-doping work or an indefensible surveillance regime? European Journal of Sport Science, 9(1): 3-10.

Hanstad, D. V. & Houlihan, B. (2015). Strengthening global anti-doping policy through bilateral collaboration: The example of Norway and China. International Journal of Sport Policy & Politics, 7(4): 587-604.

Houlihan, B. (2002). Dying to win: Doping in sport and the development of anti-doping policy (2nd ed.). Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.

Houlihan, B. (2004). Civil rights, doping control and the World Anti-Doping Code, Sport in Society, 7(3): 420-437.

Houlihan, B. (2014). Achieving compliance in international anti-doping policy: An analysis of the 2009 World Anti-Doping Code. Sport Management Review, 17(3): 265-276.

Hughes, S. & Shank, M. (2005). Defining scandal in sports: Media and corporate sponsor perspectives. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 14(4): 207-216.

Kantola, A. & Vesa, J. (2013). Mediated scandals as social dramas: Transforming the moral order in Finland. Acta Sociologica, 56(4): 295-308.

Kinder, P. D. (2018). NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) phenomenon. In R. Kolb (ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society (p. 2483). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Kozman, C. (2013). The Tiger Woods scandal in the media: Measuring attribute effects on the public. International Journal of Sport Communication, 6(2): 214-233.

Kristiansen, E. (2017). Norway. In E. Kristiansen, M. M. Parent & B. Houlihan (eds.), Elite sport youth policy and management: A comparative analysis (pp. 80-95). London and New York: Routledge.

Laine, T. (2006). Shame on us: Shame, national identity and the Finnish doping scandal. International Journal of the History of Sport, 23(1): 67-81.

Li, J. (2009). Intertextuality and national identity: Discourse of national conflicts in daily newspapers in the United States and China. Discourse & Society, 20 (1): 85-121.

Li, B., Stokowski, S., Dittmore, S. W. & Scott, O. K. M. (2016). How mediated sporting events constitute nationalism: Chinese newspapers covering the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. International Journal of Sport Communication, 9(1): 79-96.

McNamee, M. & Tarasti, L. (2010). Juridical and ethical peculiarities in doping policy. Journal of Medical Ethics, 36(3): 165-169.

Mignon, P. (2003). The Tour de France and the doping issue. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 20(2): 227-245.

Møller, V. (2009). The ethics of doping and anti-doping: Redeeming the soul of sport? London: Routledge.

Møller, V. (2014). Who guards the guardians? The International Journal of the History of Sport, 31(8): 934-950.

Møller, V. (2016). The road to hell is paved with good intentions: A critical evaluation of WADA’s anti-doping campaign. Performance Enhancement & Health, 4(3-4): 111-115.

Rowe, D. (1997). Apollo undone: The sports scandal. In J. Lull & S. Hinerman (eds.), Media scandals: Morality and desire in the popular culture marketplace (pp. 203-221). Cambridge: Polity Press.

Storm, R. & Wagner, U. (2015). The anatomy of the sports scandal: An outline for a theoretical contextualization. International Journal of Sport Communication, 8(3): 293-312.

Tangen, J.-O. (2004). Hvordan er idrett mulig? Skisse til en idrettssociologi. [How is sport possible? An outline for a sociology of sport]. Kristianssand: Høyskola Forlaget.

Thompson, J. B. (2000). Political scandal: Power and visibility in the media age. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Ungerleider, S. (2001) Faust’s gold: Inside the East German doping machine. New York: Thomas Dunne Books.

WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] (2015). World Anti-Doping Code. Lausanne.

Wagner, U. & Hanstad, D. V. (2011). Scandinavian perspectives on doping: A comparative policy analysis in relation to the international process of institutionalizing anti-doping. International Journal of Sport Policy & Politics, 3(3): 355-372.

Wagner, U. & Pedersen, K. (2014). The IOC and the doping issue: A discursive institutional approach to organizational identity construction. Sport Management Review, 17(2): 160-173.

Wexler, M. (1996). A sociological framing of the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) syndrome. International Review of Modern Sociology, 26(1): 91-110.

Nordicom Review

Journal from the Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Research (Nordicom)

Journal Information


CiteScore 2018: 0.54

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.223
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.270


Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 417 417 79
PDF Downloads 334 334 48