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Sachenbacher-Stehle Requests 3-Month Ban: ‘I Do Not Want to Cede as a Doping Sinner’

Germany's Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle (27) in the quaterfinals of the 2007 Tour de Ski in Prague. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Germany’s Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle (27) in the quaterfinals of the 2007 Tour de Ski in Prague. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Petr Novák)

At 33, German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle might have been ruled out of the game by some, considering she was banned from competing for two years after testing positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine at the Sochi Olympics.

But she said then that she would seek a reduced ban, one less harsh than the two-year ban the International Biathlon Union (IBU) Anti-Doping Panel simultaneously handed down to two other female biathletes who tested positive for EPO, recombinant erythropoietin.

She took a tea powder.

“I took a dietary supplement that was contaminated … I did not want to cheat,” she recently told a publication called the Star, according translated article by T-online. “Fact that I will now [be] cast with criminal dopers, with people, for example, that inject EPO into their veins … that’s almost worse when the two-year ban.”

Sachenbacher-Stehle, a former cross-country skier who won two Olympic gold medals and three silvers before switching to biathlon in 2012, placed fourth in the mass start in Sochi. Her results in Sochi were later nulled.

According to the Associated Press, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) says she’s seeking a three-month ban instead — which she’s already served. The retroactive suspension started Feb. 17, 2014. She would need her appeal to be processed on a fast-track basis, which the IBU must approve first.

“Although I am already 33 years old, and time is running [out], I do not want to cede as a doping sinner,” she said, according to a translation. “This is not to be the last picture of me.”

In similar cases, the CAS shortened suspensions of two Jamaicans track stars, Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, who also sought reduced bans of three months — down from the original 18 months they were sentenced to.

Comments

  1. Tim Kelley says:

    So say the IBU reduced her sentence to three months for the “contaminated tea powder” she allegedly ingested. Wouldn’t that set a precedence? Wouldn’t that open the door for more cheating? Why wouldn’t skiers start taking methylhexanamine, and if they got caught, just say: “Oh shoot, it must have been some contamination in a supplement I was taking. Bummer. OK, I’ll take the three months like ES-S.” Three months is a short time window and probably worth the risk for folks that would consider cheating.

    Seems like the lesson to be learned here is don’t put anything into your body that you can’t recognize. Supplement powders and pills … looking at them, you can’t tell what you are about to ingest. Labels are created by people. And some people lie. You often have no clue what these mostly unregulated products contain. So if you consume supplements and they end up having banned chemicals in them, well – you should have known better to eat or drink them in the first place.

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