An Italian court cleared six Austrians of involvement in the doping scandal of the 2006 Turin Olympics on Friday. Former cross-country coach Walter Mayer, ski president Peter Schroecksnadel and biathlon director Markus Gandler were cleared, along with team doctor Peter Baumgartl and skiers Martin Tauber and Jurgen Pinter.
The Austrian Ski Federation released a statement following the verdict saying that the decision proves “many accusations against Austria ski federation representatives were false.”
Though six walk free, three others were given fines and sanctions. According to the Associated Press (via Sportsnet), former cross-country coach Emil Hoch was handed 20 months and 26,000 euros, biathlete and 2002 bronze medallist Wolfgang Perner got 18 months and 23,000 euro and biathlete Wolfgang Rottmann received 16 months and 20,000 euros. Perner and Rottman both plan to appeal.
Italian police raided Austria’s hotel rooms in 2006 in response to a tip-off that Mayer had been seen in the area despite being banned for his involvement in a doping scandal in 2002 (for which he received 15 months in prison). Doping paraphernalia was found in the athletes’ rooms during the Turin raid, prompting an investigation and formation of a disciplinary panel by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The panel handed the Austrian Olympic committee a $1 million fine and lifetime bans to four athletes (one of which was later reduced to a four-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport).