When heroes lie movie poster


When Heroes Lie causes a huge 'media storm' in Norway

Press release 23.11.2012

Thursday evening's top news story on Norway's national TV channel NRK was about the latest documentary feature film of director and producer Arto Halonen, 'When Heroes Lie', and the film's claims about the history of doping in Norwegian cross-country skiing. NRK dealt with the topic for about 14 minutes, roughly one-third of the entire broadcast. The Senior Editor for Documentaries at NRK, Tore Tomter, has said that such broad assertions have never before been reported by NRK.

The film describes a confidential source from the inner circles of Norway’s cross-country skiing who states that the doping history in Norway is similar to the doping history in Sweden and Finland. The source also claims that if the truth behind the success in Norwegian skiing would come out, there would not be any heroes but only losers.

NRK channel 2 will present the film this Saturday, on the 24th of November, in the primetime slot. This will be on the same weekend as the kick-off for the world cup in cross-country skiing. The NRK website will also show the film at 6pm on Friday, 23 November.

In addition to Halonen's interview on Thursday's broadcast, NRK interviewed several other figures from the Norway cross-country skiing community. These included the president of the Norwegian Ski Federation Erik Røste, the vice-president of the FIS medical committee Inggard Lereim and a group of former top-level skiers such as Thomas Alsgaard, Bente Skari and Björn Dähli. All the interviewees denied the accusations and their knowledge of any doping in Norwegian skiing.

The Norwegian media is now speculating about the identity of the confidential source behind some of the assertions made in the film. NRK editor-in-chief Hans-Tore Bjerkaas reported on-air that he knows who the source is and believes the source is credible. Bjerkaas also reported that the source has confirmed the truth of the statements relied upon for the documentary.

Before the TV premiere, NRK invited director Halonen and the former Finnish national cross-country ski team head coach Kari-Pekka Kyrö to visit Oslo. Today, on Friday, Halonen and Kyrö gave interviews for some of the major media and press outlets in Norway, including Verdens Gang. Norway's doping conversation has heated up even more since the recent revelations about the Lance Armstrong doping case and its connections to Norway's professional cyclists. Consequently, When Heroes Lie's television premiere comes in the middle of Norway's new attentiveness to doping as a hot topic.

The film started its theatrical run in Finland on 5 October 2012 to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Many critics have specifically noted the film's support for a more open and honest sport culture, where an athlete caught doping would not be abandoned and scapegoated by the rest of the community.

The film is written by Halonen, along with Jouni K. Kemppainen and Kevin Frazier, with cinematography by Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen and Arto Halonen, editing by Antti Tuomikoski and Sanna Liinamaa, sound design by Martti Turunen, and music by Tapani Rinne.

Further information:

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Reference: Norwegian online articles about the television premiere of When Heroe Lie