Nicklas Backstrom’s exoneration appealed by WADA

Nicklas Backstrom
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An International Olympic Committee decision to clear Swedish Olympic hockey player Nicklas Backstrom of wrongdoing after he failed a drug test at the Sochi Olympics has been appealed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), according to The Hockey News.

“The decision to exonerate the athlete was recently appealed by WADA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” WADA senior manager of media relations and communications Ben Nichols wrote in an email, according to the report.

Backstrom was suspended for the Sochi Olympic gold-medal game, which Sweden lost to Canada on Feb. 23, after it was found he tested positive for pseudoephedrine (PSE) on Feb. 19. He did not initially receive a silver medal.

The IOC ruled on March 14 that Backstrom should receive a silver medal, which he did receive later this year. The IOC also ruled on March 14 that Backstrom’s gold-medal game suspension was justified.

WADA wouldn’t speculate if Backstrom could be stripped of his silver medal if its appeal was successful, according to The Hockey News.

“I don’t really have anything to say about it,” Backstrom told CSNWashington.com after he had two assists in the Washington Capitals’ 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. “We’ll see what happens. I mean, I thought it was over but I guess it’s not. I don’t really think about it. We’ll see.”

The NHL is backing Backstrom in the WADA case.

“WADA is an organization that has clearly overgrown its original mandate and purpose. It’s a travesty,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in response to WADA’s appeal, according to TSN.

In March, the IOC Disciplinary Commission concluded that Swedish team doctor Bjorn Waldeback made a “serious error” by advising Backstrom that his use of the medicine Zyrtec-D would “not give rise to an adverse analytical finding.”

“The IOC DC took into account in particular that the athlete had been cooperative, had disclosed the medication in question in the doping control form and had relied on the specific advice of his team doctor that the intake of the medication would not give rise to an adverse analytical finding,” the IOC said in March. “There was also no indication of any intent of the athlete to improve his performance by taking a prohibited substance. Based upon these mitigating circumstances, the IOC DC considered that the athlete should be entitled to receive the silver medal and diploma awarded for men’s ice hockey.”

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