Disgraced Norwegian skier Petter Northug has been allowed to serve his prison sentence for drunk driving by wearing an electronic ankle cuff that will restrict his movements but allow him to keep training. He’ll need to wear the ankle cuff for the full 50 days of his sentence next autumn, but apparently won’t have to spend any time in an actual jail.
Northug has given three different versions of his looming custody period to three different media outlets: Swedish newspaper Expressen, Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet and Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). He told Expressen on Friday that “it looks like” he’ll be serving his time in December 2015. He earlier told Dagbladet, though, that he’d serve in October, and he told NRK that it would be in November.
NRK reported that the actual time frame hasn’t been decided yet. Officials in Norway’s department of corrections (Kriminalomsorgen) won’t disclose the terms of Northug’s or anyone’s custody, so they would neither confirm nor deny Northug’s own disclosures.
He told Expressen, though, that with the ankle cuff, he can still have “a good training period.” It also appears, as previously speculated, that prison officials are allowing Northug to avoid having his prison sentence interfere with this year’s professional ski season. After he was convicted for his drunk driving spree and for leaving the scene of an accident he caused with an injured companion in the car, Northug could apply for the milder form of punishment that both allows convicts to stay home and relieves the prison system of providing a prison cell. Most people serving must stay inside their homes, but it’s long been reported that Northug has received some special treatment.
“We’re expecting, as Petter says, that this situation will be resolved in a good manner,” Are Sørum Langås, Northug’s manager, wrote in an SMS to NRK.no on Friday. “But we don’t know the exact status (of his custody) or the scheduling.”