Reuters

Ex-Olympic champ biathlete caught doping at Sochi

Ex-Olympic champ biathlete caught doping at Sochi
By Reuters

22/02/2014 at 03:19Updated 22/02/2014 at 04:07

German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, a former Olympic champion, and Italian bobsledder William Frullani have been caught taking performance enhancing drugs at the Winter Olympics.

The German biathlon superstar - a two-times Olympic champion, who has a total of five Olympic medals in previous Games - has been banned from competing in Sochi and sent home following a positive for a stimulant.

The German official said both of their athlete's samples tested on Thursday and Friday came back as positive for a stimulant. The German officials later named the guilty party as Sachenbacher-Stehle, Olympic champion at the 2002 and 2010 Games.

"As far as I know it is a stimulant that you sometimes find in extra nutrition (nutritional supplements). So, no EPO or things like that," the official added.

The IOC said before the Olympics it was planning to carry out 2,453 tests during the Games, including 1,269 pre-competition controls, which is a record for a Winter Olympics.

Until Friday no athlete had tested positive for banned drugs at Russia's first Winter Olympics, with the IOC eager to stop cheats from getting to the Games with increased pre-Olympic testing in the months leading up to the event.

The second positive doping test of the Games emerged later on Friday as Italian bobsledder Frullani failed a test.

The 34-year-old Frullani, a former track and field athlete, tested positive for the substance dymetylpentylamine, also found in nasal decongestants, and has left the village.

Italian officials said they had got the green light from the International Olympic Committee to replace Frullani in their four-man bobsleigh team with the competition set for Sunday, the final day of the Olympics.

"The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) now needs to sort out the composition of the bobsleigh team which Frullani was part of, to make it back up to four," CONI said in a statement.

"They have requested that the athlete be replaced with the reserve Samuele Romanini and clearance for this has been received from the IOC."

The IOC tests all medallists as well as several other finalists for banned substances, while also conducting hundreds more targeted tests based on intelligence.

Drugs-testing vans shadow athletes coming down from the mountains for their medals ceremony in Sochi while athletes can also be tested there for drugs.

After a string of high-profile cases in the past decade, the IOC is eager to prevent the situation where winners who have used drugs still have their moment on the podium before the long and Olympic brand-damaging procedure of stripping medals and re-awarding them.

Samples taken at the Sochi Olympics will also be stored for a decade and re-tested in line with the new World Anti-Doping Code that comes into effect on Jan. 1 2015.

Germany, who are fourth in the medals table with eight golds and 16 medals in total, sent a total of 154 athletes to Sochi.

There were no doping cases during the 1994 Lillehammer Games, none at Nagano 1998 while seven athletes were caught at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and another seven in Turin in 2006. One athlete tested positive at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

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