Backstrom To Receive Silver Medal From Sochi Olympics

Nicklas Backstrom will receive his silver medal from the Sochi Games, according to a ruling by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Swedish ice hockey player participated in the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi but was kept out of the gold medal game for testing positive for a banned substance.

The test results of Backstrom revealed an elevated level of pseudoephedrine that is found in his allergy medication Zyrtec-D. The medication is a permitted drug and specific levels of pseudoephedrine are prohibited by the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Federation. It was ruled by the IOC Disciplinary Commission that the provisional suspension of Backstrom for Sweden’s gold medal game vs. Canada was “fully justified” but decided to award him the medal as there was no indication that the ice hockey player was trying to enhance his performance.

The IOC Disciplinary Committee remarked it took into account in particular that the athlete had been cooperative, had disclosed the medication in question in the doping control form and had relied on the specific advice of his team doctor that the intake of the medication would not give rise to an adverse analytical finding. The IOC Disciplinary Committee added that there was also no indication of any intent of the athlete to improve his performance by taking a prohibited substance. Based upon these mitigating circumstances, the IOC Disciplinary Committee considered that the athlete should be entitled to receive the silver medal and diploma awarded for men’s ice hockey. The IOC Disciplinary Commission (DC) was composed of Anita L. DeFrantz (Chairperson), Nawal El Moutawakel and Claudia Bokel.

Sweden lost the final to defending champions Canada 3-0. Swedish team manager Tommy Boustedt said at a news conference that the IOC have given amateurism a face and it’s sad that it will affect Nicklas and the hockey organization and added that the timing with this was awful and my suspicion is that this is political and they got the decision two days ago and they waited until it would make a really good impact on you journalists. The adverse finding had come from an over-the-counter medication he uses to treat a sinus condition, said Backstrom and remarked he had been using the medication for years without any problems. He also remarked he told the drug testers he was taking the drug when they asked him for a sample after his team’s quarter-final win over Slovenia. Backstrom told a news conference that he was ready to play probably the biggest game of his career then two and a half hours before the game he get pulled aside.

Swedish Team doctor Bjoern Waldeback said Backstrom has problems with sinusitis and allergic problems and he has for several years taken one pill a day of medication called Zyrtec-D and it contains psuedoephedrine. Waldeback added Nicklas was tested several times before the Olympics and Nicklas also asked him before the Games if he could use this pill, and he told him he could take one. He went on to remark that we could’ve never imagined the consequences of taking a medication that hardly affects the person and ruins the greatest day of his life.

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