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Tuesday 20, Jan 2015

  Former Figure Skating World Champion Banned

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Former Figure Skating World Champion Banned

Carolina Kostner, one of the most decorated female figure skaters in the world, has been banned by the Italian anti-doping tribunal for 16 months. This was after the Italian figure skater was found guilty of assisting her then-boyfriend and Olympic race walking champion Alex Schwazer in covering up his doping.

The Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping prosecutor had earlier recommended that Kostner should be banned for four years and three months. The prosecutor changed his recommendation following a change in the World Anti-Doping Agency’s code from the beginning of 2015. He requested a suspension of two years and three months but the Italian anti-doping tribunal decided on a sanction of one year and four months and a fine of 1,000 euros ($1,150).

The 27-year-old Kostner had already announced her decision to take off from competition this year but a long ban could have ruled her out of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Kostner admitted lying to anti-doping officials when they arrived in 2012 at her home looking for Alex Schwazer so that they could collect a sample for a drug test. The figure skater told them that Schwazer was not around. She now says that she never covered for Alex as she had no idea what he was doing.

Italy’s Olympic committee was seeking a heavier penalty for Carolina. The Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping prosecutor had recommended that the former figure skating world champion be banned for four years and three months. The request by prosecutor was made as part of a widespread doping inquiry that set off when Alex Schwazer tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO) in 2012.

After the verdict, Carolina will be prevented from competing, coaching, or appearing in shows that are sanctioned by the International Skating Union (ISU). Her ban is not backdated and the 27-year-old will not lose any of her medals. The ban starts immediately and ends on May 15, 2016.

Giovanni Fontana, Kostner’s lawyer, said he would be appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. Fontana also remarked that Carolina cleared up all the doubts there were to clear up and he thinks the anti-doping prosecutor was very satisfied on all accounts. The lawyer also remarked that Carolina is extraneous from the entire case and she did not cover up anything for anyone. Carolina exited by a backdoor and did not speak with reporters. Fontana said that his client is used to a completely different type of attention and that’s why we thought that after four hours she should rest up a bit.

Schwazer admitted to using EPO, the blood-boosting hormone, and announced his retirement from the sport. The Italian race walker, who won the 50-kilometre walk at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, also admitted to consulting with Lance Armstrong’s banned sports doctor, Michele Ferrari. Schwazer was banned by CONI for 3 ½ years in April 2013. The ban imposed on Schwazer may be extended by three months, taking his suspension to April 2016. After caught doping, Schwazer admitted that he purchased EPO and lied to Carolina about storing the banned substance in their fridge.

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Tuesday 23, Dec 2014

  Former Olympic Gold Medalist Takes Doping Plea

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Former Olympic Gold Medalist Takes Doping Plea

Former Olympic race walking gold medalist Alex Schwazer has received an eight-month suspended prison sentence under a plea bargain deal with prosecutors who were investigating him for doping.

The race walker will also pay a 6,000-euro ($7,350) fine as part of the deal. Schwazer failed an out-of-competition test before arriving at the 2012 London Olympics. The race walker, who won the 50-kilometer walk at the 2008 Beijing Games, was removed from Italy’s team before competing. He later admitted to using the blood-boosting hormone Erythropoietin (EPO). The Italian race walker who retired during the 2012 Olympics now wants to compete at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The 3 1/2-year ban imposed on Schwazer from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) expiring in January, 2016. His ban may be extended by CONI, which is still investigating him.

Doping is a criminal offense in Italy and Bolzano prosecutor Guido Rispoli is leading an inquiry to show that doctors and coaches were aware that the race walker was doping long before he tested positive, possibly dating to Beijing. The athlete’s lawyer, Gerhard Brandstatter, said Schwazer wants to become an anti-doping spokesman to prevent other kids from making his mistake and added with the plea bargain Alex has already turned the page so to speak and now we’re waiting to close the case with the sports authorities.

CONI’s anti-doping court is also expected to judge Schwazer’s ex-girlfriend and former figure skating world champion Carolina Kostner on whether or not she assisted in covering up Schwazer’s use of banned drugs by helping him avoid a test. A ban of four years and three months has been requested for Kostner by Schwazer’s use of banned drugs by CONI’s anti-doping prosecutor.

In June this year, Kostner, the reigning Olympic and World bronze medalist, said she would sit out the 2014-15 season. In the past, Kostner has remarked if she had knew Alex was doping she would have convinced him to confess, for his own health and added being accused of aiding him is intolerable for her. She went on to remark that it is strange to find out how anti-doping authorities could seek a heavier ban for her compared to so many athletes banned for doping. A long ban on the 27-year-old Kostner could rule her out of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and may end her career.

Carolina Kostner has also won two silvers and three bronzes at the worlds, and is a five-time European champion. It is not clear as of now whether she could be banned retroactively and stripped of medals. CONI president Giovanni Malago expressed sympathy for Kostner. A CONI ban would likely prevent Kostner from performing in shows supported by national or international sports federations.

The skating champion has acknowledged accompanying Schwazer on a visit to Lance Armstrong’s banned sports doctor, Michele Ferrari, in 2010. According to published reports of Kostner’s testimony to prosecutors in Bolzano, Kostner admitted to lying to inspectors from the World Anti-Doping Agency who visited her home in Germany looking for Schwazer on July 30, 2012.

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Tuesday 16, Sep 2014

  Former Figure Skating World Champion Summoned

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Former Figure Skating World Champion Summoned

Carolina Kostner will appear before Italian Olympic Committee officials who are investigating whether she was complicit in doping by Alex Schwazer, her former boyfriend and Olympic race walking champion.

In a brief statement on Monday, CONI says it has summoned the former figure skating world champion Carolina Kostner to a hearing on Friday. This was after media reports about evidence Kostner gave to Bolzano prosecutors investigating the case. Kostner, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, will be asked to provide details on Schwazer’s doping and allegations of complicity in the breach of doping regulations.

Schwazer was excluded from the 2012 London Olympics after he tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO) before the games. Prosecutors believe that coaches and doctors knew that Schwazer, who won the 50-kilometer walk at the 2008 Beijing Games, was doping long before he tested positive. Schwazer was banned by CONI for 3 ½ years in April 2013.

Schwazer, the Italian race walker, retired during the London 2012 Olympics after he was disqualified for doping offences. Schwazer admitted to buying EPO and said he lied to his fiancée as he stored EPO in their fridge. While admitting EPO use, Schwazer said in a press conference in Bolzano, in northern Italy that he lived three very difficult years as an athlete and there was too much pressure on him. The Italian walker said he acted alone and remarked he did not want to compromise anyone, especially his coach.

Schwazer said he went to Turkey in September and bought EPO from a chemist. He added that it is easier to buy EPO in Turkey than in Italy where you can get it with 1500 euros and added that he brought back EPO with him to Italy. Schwazer revealed he took the last injection on July 29, 2013 and anti-doping controllers visited him on July 30. The walker said he could have avoided the anti-doping test but decided he did not have strength to lie any more. Schwazer issued an apology to Carolina and it was not easy for him to lie to her and he told Carolina the medicines in the fridge were vitamin B12.

Alex Schwazer won the bronze medal in the 50 km race at the 2005 World Championships and was the runner-up at the 2008 IAAF World Race Walking Cup. Schwazer and went on to win gold at the 50 km walk at the 2008 Summer Olympics where he set a new Olympic record with his time of 3:37:09.

Carolina, the Italian figure skater, is a five-time European champion, the 2011 Grand Prix Final champion, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist, and the 2012 World champion. Carolina Kostner is also a medalist at five other World Championships, three other Grand Prix Finals, four other European Championships, a seven-time Italian national champion, and the 2003 World Junior bronze medalist. She is the cousin of Isolde Kostner, a silver medalist in alpine skiing at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Carolina is best known for her speed across the ice and can land triple-triple combinations, including the double axel-triple toe loop combination, triple flip – triple toe loop – double loop combination, and the triple flip – triple toe loop.

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Wednesday 10, Jul 2013

  Easy To Buy Illegal Performance Drugs In Turkey

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Easy To Buy Illegal Performance Drugs In Turkey

A study by two university students from Turkey has revealed that it is extremely easy to access illegal performance enhancing drugs in Turkey.

A thesis research conducted by Kevser Çiftçi and Tuğba Köksal, graduate students at Hacettepe University’s School of Sports Sciences and Technology, showed that obtaining drugs without prescription was quite easy. The students went to 150 pharmacies in Ankara and asked for erythropoietin (EPO), which is a medicine usually illegal to sell without a medical prescription. They reported that they were able to obtain EPO in 127 pharmacies out of the 150, which were located in three different neighborhoods of Ankara.

EPO, which is usually used to cure kidney problems and anemia, is on the blacklist of the World Anti-Doping Agency and that it could be detected with the biologic passport. Çiftçi said the fact that they asked if we were sportsmen in some of the pharmacies shows that this medicine is used in sporting activities.

In the last few months, doping by Turkish athletes has been prominent with Olympic champion Aslı Çakır Alptekin and European champion Nevin Yanıt facing allegations of doping in April this year. After the allegations, the two were left out of the Turkish squad and also suspended from international competitions. Eight weightlifters were left off the Turkish national squad ahead of the Mediterranean Games, which took place between June 20 and 30 in Turkey’s Mersin, after testing positive for doping. The country’s problems with doping were accepted by Turkish Athletics Federation (TAF) Chairman Mehmet Terzi who said 24 athletes were suspected of doping this year and added the federation’s battle with doping would continue, claiming that doping figures would decrease by September.

Haydar Demirel, a member of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey Anti-Doping Commission and principal of the Hacettepe University School of Sports Sciences and Technology, remarked it was concerning that illegal performance enhancing material could be found easily. Demirel added we know that the age to start using doping has fallen considerably and a youngster can go to the pharmacy and obtain [drugs] if he wishes to try it. He further added that Alex Schwarzer, an Italian athlete who was suspended from his national team before the 2012 London Olympics because of doping, had said he obtained the drugs from Antalya without a prescription.

      The 2008 Olympic race walk champion who was expelled from the London Games for doping said he flew alone to Turkey in September with 1,500 euros (now $1,850) to buy the blood booster EPO at a pharmacy. The athlete while recounting how he hid the banned substance in the home he was sharing with star figure skater Carolina Kostner had remarked he disguised it in a box of vitamins in a refrigerator at Kostner’s home in Germany, where he was staying in July. He had added that it was easy to access such drugs in countries like Turkey. Schwarzer was accurate in his statement, according to Demirel.

The illegal sale of EPO was confirmed by Secretary-general of the Turkish Pharmacists’ Association Harun Kızılay who added they would investigate into the issue.

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Wednesday 15, Aug 2012

  Alex Schwazer Relieved By Doping Ban

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Gold medal-winning race walker @Alex Schwazer gave a tear-filled press conference after he was kicked out of the London Games for blood doping. The defending Olympic gold-medal champion race walker said he was actually happy that he had been caught making use of illegal substances.

In an emotional press conference, Schwazer said it is not nice to lock yourself in the bathroom and inject EPO in the veins while the girlfriend is going for training. He added he was not made to use drugs or deceive people but enough is enough for him and he is actually elated that the whole thing has finally come to an end.

Schwazer’s blood sample was taken just before the opening of the Olympics and tested positive for erythropoietin or EPO that can enhance oxygenation of the blood. After this, the race walker was suspended by the National Olympic Committee of Italy (CONI). The test indicated the presence of the prohibited substance recombinant erythropoietin (rhEPO); Schwazer was to compete on Saturday 11 August, at 09:00 in the Men’s 50km Walk Race. After the initial sample tested positive, the walker requested for the analysis of the B sample that happened on 7 August 2012 at the WADA Accredited Laboratory in Cologne. On August 8, 2012 he admitted to buying EPO in Turkey for 1500 euros at a local pharmacy and said he last injected EPO on 29 July 2012 and accessed the internet for using EPO and how to buy it.

The drug has been a recent favorite with endurance athletes. The race walker said he only took EPO in the month leading up to the London Olympics. The drug was obtained in Antalya, Turkey and Schwazer stored the drug in the refrigerator he shares with his girlfriend, world-champion figure skater Carolina Kostner. Schwazer told Carolina that his EPO stores were actually vitamins for months.

The Italian race walker was the Olympic 50k walk champion but retired during the 2012 Olympics after testing positive for EPO. Born on December 26, 1984, Schwazer won the bronze medal in the 50 km race at the 2005 World Championships with a national record time of 3:41.54 hours. Alex Schwazer was the runner-up at the 2008 IAAF World Race Walking Cup and went on to win gold at the 50 km walk at the 2008 Summer Olympics after setting a new Olympic record with his time of 3:37:09. He won the Gran Premio Città di Lugano in an Italian record time and the Coppa Città di Sesto San Giovanni in 2010. In 2012, he walked an Italian record of 1:17:30 hours to win at the Memorial Mario Albisetti 20 km walk and won at the Dudinska patdesiatka.

The IOC suspension means that Schwazer shall have his Olympic identity and accreditation card immediately cancelled and withdrawn. Schwazer denied getting EPO from the Italian doctor, Michele Ferrari, who in 2002 was banned by the Italian Cycling Federation and also was a consulting physician for seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. The IOC has opened an investigation and may test the samples of the 2008 gold medalist from Beijing though Schwazer said he was clean at that time.



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