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~Daehlie backs doping hearing

Eight-time Norwegian Olympic cross-country ski champion Bjorn Daehlie said Thursday he was willing to take part in a hearing on doping as part of measures to reinstall public confidence in Norwegian sport.

"I would take part in a hearing. I think all Norwegian athletes would," Daehlie was quoted as telling the Oslo daily VG.

Daehlie, who also won nine world titles, said he had never used banned substances and never considered doing so.

The proposal of a hearing was floated Wednesday by former speed skater Johann Olav Koss after a former Norwegian cyclist admitted to doping last week, resulting in a knock in public confidence about how clean top athletes were.

"There were some races where we wondered about the results. There weren't many, but it happened," Daehlie said when asked by VG if he had suspected competitors of doping.

The 45-year-old said during his career Norwegian coaches and others had never suggested doping and the line was to reject it.

"We were extremely careful about what we ate and drank. I never touched anything I wasn't completely certain of," he said.

Former Olympic champions including female javelin thrower Trine Hattestad, biathlete Halvard Hanevold and kayaker Knut Holmann are also willing to take part in a hearing, VG reported.

Hattestad said "measures that made sport clean were good."

Holmann said that while he would take part, "it might be better to use resources to tackle doping now."

"You could also summon those you believe know something or from events where there was a lot of doping. To summon all athletes who made good results would be poor use of resources," the three-time Olympic kayak champion said.

A survey commissioned last week by VG in the wake of cyclist Steffen Kjaergaard's doping disclosure showed that over half of the respondents believed most or at least a few former Norwegian athletes had used banned substances during the past two decades.



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