Wed, Dec 24, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Schwazer plea bargains on doping

AP, BOLZANO, Italy

Former Olympic race walking gold medalist Alex Schwazer was handed an eight-month suspended prison sentence on Monday under a plea bargain deal with prosecutors investigating him for doping, and he hopes to compete again.

Schwazer, who won the 50km walk at the 2008 Beijing Games, failed an out-of-competition test before arriving at the 2012 London Olympics and was removed from Italy’s team before competing.

He admitted using the blood-boosting hormone EPO, and said he was quitting the sport.

Schwazer now wants to compete at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, with his three-and-a-half-year ban from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) expiring in January 2016. However, CONI is still investigating him and could extend his ban.

Doping is also a criminal offense in Italy, and Bolzano prosecutor Guido Rispoli has been leading an inquiry attempting to show that coaches and doctors knew that Schwazer was doping long before he tested positive, possibly dating to Beijing.

Meanwhile, Schwazer’s former girlfriend and former figure skating world champion Carolina Kostner will be judged by CONI’s anti-doping court on Jan. 16 over whether she helped cover up Schwazer’s use of banned drugs by helping him avoid a test.

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