Olympic Doping Appeal Of Backstrom Resolved With Reprimand

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has withdrawn his appeal against ruling of the International Olympic Committee that he violated World Anti-Doping Agency law.

Backstrom, the Swedish professional ice hockey centre and an alternate captain for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, was allowed to keep the silver medal he earned playing for Sweden in the Sochi Olympics last February. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Backstrom had not intended to gain any competitive advantage by using the medication.

According to a joint announcement between Backstrom, WADA, and the IOC, Backstrom agreed upon a reprimand that is the minimum application sanction permitted by the WADA code. The announcement said the final decision was reached for Backstrom to remove his appeal and the World Anti-Doping Agency to issue a reprimand after constructive discussions between Backstrom’s representatives and those of the IOC, WADA, and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).

It was also revealed by the announcement that at no time was Backstrom’s receipt of his Olympic silver medal at issue in the proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The announcement emphasized that Backstrom did not intend to enhance his sport performance by taking a prohibited substance, that the prohibited substance (PSE) was contained within a product Backstrom was taking for medical reasons, that Backstrom relied on the specific advice of his team doctor that his use of the product would not give rise to a positive sample, and that he openly disclosed the product on the doping control form at the time of the doping control.

Backstrom received the full support of Coach Barry Trotz, his teammates, and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly when it emerged that the World Anti-Doping Agency had appealed the IOC’s decision to exonerate Backstrom. In early December, Daly said the NHL supports Nick in this circumstance and added that he thinks there were unfair circumstances surrounding the determination, and unfortunately it is still in litigation.

The 27-year-old Swede was judged to have committed an anti-doping rule violating on March 14, 2014 based on elevated pseudoephedrine levels. Backstrom tested positive for pseudoephedrine after Sweden’s win over Slovenia in the Olympic quarterfinals on February 19, 2014. The Washington Capitals centre claimed the stimulant was contained in a sinus medication he had been taking for allergies. Nicklas Backstrom was suspended and pulled from the Swedish team just hours before the February 23 gold-medal game, which Sweden lost 3-0 to Canada. The timing of the decision angered the Swedes who said it affected the team’s performance.

Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient found in his allergy medication not banned by the National Hockey League (NHL). This resulted in Backstrom getting barred from playing in the gold medal game. Later, Backstrom was awarded his silver medal in a ceremony in Sweden on August 28.

On April 2, 2014, Backstrom filed his appeal and challenged that an anti-doping rule violation had occurred. The World Anti-Doping Agency filed its appeal on October 9, 2014 and tried to counter ruling of the IIHF Disciplinary Committee that Backstrom had not violated the WADA code.

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