Schwazer ‘nightmare’ over new drug scandal
ROME – Italian 50km race walker Alex Schwazer, who resumed competition in May after a three-and-a-half year doping ban, admitted he was living a “nightmare” after testing positive for anabolic steroids.
Italy’s Alex Schwazer posing with his gold medal on the podium of the men’s 50 km walk at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
But the 2008 Olympic gold medallist insisted he was innocent, even hinting that there was a conspiracy to prevent him from taking part in the Rio Olympics in August.
“It’s a nightmare, the worst thing that could happen to me,” said Schwazer at a news conference where he was accompanied by his lawyer and coach Sandro Donati.
“Just as four years ago, I am before you again but today there will be no excuses because I haven’t done anything.
“Somebody doesn’t want me to go to the Olympic Games. I don’t have much time but I will do all I can to get this cleared up.”
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported Wednesday that the test on the 2008 Olympic gold medallist, carried out by world athletics’ governing body, the IAAF, on January 1, had at first come back negative.
After Schwazer qualified for August’s Olympics, following his 50km race walk victory in the world team championships on May 8, the sample was re-tested on May 12 and this time showed traces of steroids.
According to La Gazzetta, Schwazer and the Italian athletics federation were informed of the positive test on Tuesday.
After he won Olympic gold in Beijing, Schwazer failed a doping test conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) while he was training for the London Olympics in 2012.
The Italian anti-doping court banned him for three and a half years for testing positive for the blood booster EPO (erythropoietin), and he was removed from Italy’s team before he had the chance to defend his Olympic 50km title.
Italy’s former world figure skating champion Carolina Kostner was banned for 16 months for helping Schwazer, her former boyfriend, evade a doping control.
Kostner, the 2012 world champion, was charged with assisting Schwazer as he attempted to evade a doping control in Oberstdorf, Germany in July 2012, and for her lack of cooperation while being interviewed by investigators.