Christina Vukicevic, one of Norway’s top athletes in recent years, and her brother Vladimir, also an athlete, have come out firmly in support of their coach and father Petar Vukicevic. He’s embroiled in doping allegations lodged by his ex-wife that clearly have upset their children.
“The worst thing is that they (the doping allegations) come from our own mother,” Christina Vukicevic said at a press conference held where the Norwegian athletics association has its headquarters, at Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo. “This has no root in reality. We know what mor (mother) is capable of doing.”
She wouldn’t elaborate, but it was clear that she and her brother have sided with their father in a family feud that’s gone public and threatened the athletic careers of all three of them. They worry that the damaging issue of doping will continue to hang over their names even if Norway’s anti-doping agency, now investigating the allegations, clears them all or drops the case.
Both Christina and Vladimir have avoided the media spotlight since newspaper Dagbladet broke the story about questionable e-mails exchanged between Petar Vukicevic and a Serbian coaching friend and colleague several years ago. On Tuesday they decided to meet a barrage of cameras and reporters, in what some commentators called the latest chapter in a complicated story of alleged cheating and tricks in Norwegian sport. The Vukicevic siblings believe it’s all part of a family drama following their parents’ divorce, with their mother stirring up intrigue in a lust for revenge over her ex-husband.
That prompted her, Turid Syftetad, to heatedly deny she’s motivated by revenge. She told newspaper Aftenposten and other media that it didn’t surprise her that her children (with whom she has no contact) sided with their father.
“It’s tragic that the case has been diverted from being a doping case to a family feud,” Syftestad told Aftenposten, reportedly choked by emotion. “Everything has turned to me being a vengeful bitch. I’m not. I have been burdened with this (knowledge of the allegedly damaging e-mails) for so many year that I felt it had to come out.” She claimed her “only wish” is to “bring out the truth.”
Athletics officials are shaken over the doping allegations, have asked Antidoping Norge to investigate the e-mails and their contents, and suspended Vukicevic pending the investigation. He claims the e-mails were falsified by his ex-wife, who shared his e-mail account when they were written and sent between 2001 and 2003.
Siblings Christina and Vladimir, both hurdlers trained by their father for years, claimed their dad was one of the world’s best coaches in his field. Both want to continue excelling in their sport, but meanwhile must now worry about rumour-spreading and the allegations forever clouding the family name, which their mother doesn’t share.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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