Ranked as high as fourth in the world, she narrowly missed Olympic selection last year while holding down her day job as a research microbiologist at Oslo University.
I was fascinated, and initially horrified, to read this week of the latest anabolic steroid research from the five-strong team of which she is a member. On greater probing, it proved encouraging, for it seems to have persuaded the World Anti-Doping Agency to think again.
Published in the Journal of Physiology, the Norwegian paper suggests that even brief exposure to steroids may have long-lasting, and possibly permanent, performance-enhancing effects. The research was done on mice, but Professor Kristian Gundersen, the team leader, insists the principles are relevant in humans.
Reacquisition of muscle mass (with or without steroid use) after periods of inactivity had previously been attributed to motor learning, but Gundersen's team suggests there is a cellular "memory mechanism" within muscle of even brief steroid users. He told Herald Sport yesterday that he believes this can be reactivated "even after decades".
This provides further compelling argument for a lifetime ban on steroid cheats. We have suggested in these columns that the likes of sprinter Dwain Chambers and cyclist David Millar still benefit from performance-enhancing substances taken years ago.
The Norwegian research backs this view and may help deliver a knockout blow to those apologists who believe the brotherhood of the needle deserve a second chance. More pertinently, it shows clean athletes need more protection, and if Commonwealth Games Scotland wish to claim the moral high ground for 2014, they should end their ambivalent stance which allowed Millar, to be selected and claim tainted cycling gold in Delhi.
Gundersen says his colleague, Egner, the Nordic boxing champion, "is driven stongly by a desire to keep sport clean".
We have criticised WADA in the past. We told how research from the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the same university was published in the US three years ago, under the heading: "Performance enhancement from doping is for life and not just for Christmas". The conclusion was clear even to a non-scientist: "Effects of previous strength training can be long-lived, even after prolonged subsequent inactivity, and retraining is facilitated by a previous training episode. Anabolic steroids . . . may also have implications for exclusion periods after a doping offence."
You would have thought this would be a wake-up call to WADA, but they and the Court of Arbitration for Sport persisted in upholding the rights of cheats, rather than defend guilt-free athletes. They forced the British Olympic Association to embrace drug offenders, giving Chambers, Millar and shot-putter Carl Myerscough eligibility for London 2012. Sport governing bodies and BOA had no choice.
However, following publication of this latest paper, Gundersen revealed to us last night that WADA have given his department a grant for further research and said it was their earlier paper which convinced WADA to push for doubling the two-year ban. "They rarely fund animal-research, but in this case they have," he said.
This has prompted Gundersen, who says doping bans in sport are "a political question", to consider ethical ways of doing human research on steroids.
"It is hard to translate from a mouse which only lives two years, but the biology suggests to me that it could be very long-lasting in a human. To me, that makes a four-year suspension rather a short time.
"The results in our mice may correspond to the effects of steroids lasting for decades in humans, given the same cellular 'muscle memory' mechanism . . . Three months after withdrawal of the drug [approximately 15% of a mouse's life span] their muscles grew by 30% over six days following load exercise. The untreated mice grew insignificantly. It is rare in my experience to get such clearcut results."
He explained that many basic biological mechanisms are similar in all mammals, which is why a lot of medical research is done in mice. "A mouse lives only two years, so you can't compare with humans in absolute terms, but the mechanism relating to the cell nuclei are such that you would expect it to be very long-lasting in humans.
"When you give steroids, muscle grows and you get more power. You also get an increase in the number of cell nuclei surrounded by machinery for synthesising the protein that builds the muscle. Previously it was believed when you de-trained, or removed the drug, the muscle shrunk and you lost these extra nuclei. But we have shown they never disappear. They are not eliminated.
"For me the greatest interest is not in sport doping, but in helping the elderly. These nuclei are very stable in humans. They last several decades. To increase the nuclei is much harder when you are old than when you are young. So it is good advice to do some exercise when you are young. Even if you don't train throughout life, you might benefit from that in old age. Frailty of the elderly is big problem. There are implications there."