Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug has tested positive for a banned substance. It was not immediately clear whether she would be banned from competition.
The seven-time world champion tested positive in an out-of-competition test on September 16 and was informed of the result on October 4, according to a statement released by the Norwegian Ski Federation on Thursday.
"I am completely devastated and upset to have landed in this really trying and surreal situation," the statement quoted the 28-year-old Johaug as saying. "I feel it is unfair ... even if I as an athlete am responsible forthe medications I use," she added.
The positive test appears to have been caused by a cream that the Norwegian cross-country team's doctor, Fredik Bendiksen gave to Joahaug to treat sun burns on her lips, which she suffered from after high-altitude training in Italy in August. Bendiksen said he had failed to notice that the cream contained the banned substance clostebol, a synthetic androgenic steroid which can enhance physical performance.
"I have and take responsibility that Therese used the illegal drug clostebol via the balm Trofodermin," Bendiksen said in the Norwegian Ski Federation's statement. He also said he was "very unhappy" about the situation.
It is not yet clear whether Johaug, the reigning World Cup champion will be suspended ahead of the season, which starts next month.
In addition to her seven world championship titles, Johaug also won gold in the 4x5-kilometer relay at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, as well as silver and bronze medals at the Sochi Games.
pfd/rd (AP, AFP, dpa)