It is with some amazement that I read the massive criticism of Petter Northug from our old cross country ski heroes. He hasn’t done anything wrong exept been the world’s best skier, been himself and came a little late for the flower ceremony in the last race. And now everybody wants to put him in his place and is embarrassed to be Norwegian because of him. Excuse me folks, but please come down from that high horse, it does not suit you well to sit up there! Constructive criticism is alright and probably well accepted, but that should be fair criticism, not slaughter of character because he was 15 minutes late for a flower ceremony. Petter is by far the most colorful sports personality on two skis, he’s not cheating and not involved in foul play, he has a big mouth though but never in a vicious manner. What he says is uncensored and comes straight from the liver, and I love that he is Norwegian. The competition in international XC skiing has never been as great as it is at the moment, and it has never been so many nationalities that can win races as it is right now, and it is not given that the best should be Norwegian, but luckily the best is Norwegian at the moment. And it’s the person that Petter is that has led Petter to where he is now, not Vegard Ulvang or Thomas Alsgaard or the many others who speak out and now want to change Petter to a person who fits into the picture of those who skied before. I for my part are very happy with the person Petter is right now, and I am extremely proud that he is Norwegian. When Petter crushes all competition in a sprint, I’m jumping on my couch and cheering on like crazy, and I look forward to hearing what he says just after he reaches the finish line. In the English Premier League we have a personality that is quite similar to Petter, where comments are uncensored, his name is Ian Holloway and he is celebrated for who he is. But the minute we get one like that in Norway we need to put him in his place? I can not disagree more. Vegard and Thomas both makes their living of the attention that skiing gets, and now they want change the only male superstar on skis. The XC ski sport do not get a better attraction than Petter Northug, and those who shout the highest should be ashamed. I for my part hope Petter never changes. And Petter, do a couple of fourth places so you don’t have to go to the flower ceremony next time.

Morten Gamst Pedersen