Austrian cross-country skier Johannes Duerr was banned from the Sochi Games after testing positive for EPO, a blood booster, according to the Associated Press.
Austria’s Olympic Committee President Karl Stoss called it “a black day for us.” Duerr told the AP that he could “only apologize to everyone.”
“I am not afraid [of whatever consequences come],” Duerr said. “I am in a way glad it has come to an end … This is the worst thing I’ve done in my life. This is very, very tough. You can’t explain this in three sentences.”
This is now the fifth doping case, with the AP deeming this the most serious one, as the four other instances involved minor stimulants found in food supplements. None of the five athletes won medals, as the rest of the current list includes Latvian hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs, Ukrainian cross-country skier Marina Lisogor, German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Italian bobsledder William Frullani.
Duerr finished eighth in the men’s skiathlon on Feb. 9 and was set to compete in the 50 km mass start event before being banned.
The IOC is tossing a lifeline to the suspended Indian Olympic Association, and sent a letter stating it’s willing to meet with Indian officials in Lausanne to discuss terms of possible reinstatement.
First and foremost, the IOC said in the letter that the suspended IOA “must be in a position to hold free, fair, transparent and credible elections without any external interference and exclusively on the basis of Olympic Charter and IOA’s Constitution.”
The IOA was banned last month for failing to comply with the Olympic Charter after allowing tainted official Lalit Bhanot, who was in custody for eleven months on corruption charges stemming from the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to not only run for secretary-general, but to win unopposed.
No date is set for the meeting in Lausanne, but the IOA executive board will get together in New Delhi on Jan. 19 to discuss how they plan to move forward in regards to the IOC suspension.
The IOC is expected to suspend the Indian Olympic Association Tuesday because of government interference with committee elections that could result in corrupt official Lalit Bhanot taking over as secretary-general, according to Reuters.
The ban would effectively mean that the IOC would cease funding India’s Olympic committee and no Indian athletes would be able to compete in the Games under the Indian flag. India won six medals at this summer’s London Games.
Bhanot is out on bail after being in custody for eleven months following charges of corruption stemming from the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi. He’s set to win Wednesday’s IOA election unopposed after a rival pulled out at the 11th hour.
The announcement of India’s suspension is expected Tuesday from Lausanne, Switzerland, where the IOC Executive Board is holding its biannual meeting. Indian Sports Minister Jitendra Singh told The Hindu newspaper that the IOC never responded to messages they wrote regarding the issue.
Other things on the IOC agenda: whether Kuwait will also be banned for violating a sports law, whether athletes recently caught doping from the 2004 Games will be sanctioned, and whether Lance Armstrong’s bronze from 2000 will be revoked despite the IOC’s eight-year statute of limitations on changing results.