Austrian Cross-Country Skiers Appeal Olympic Ban

FasterSkierOctober 15, 2007

Editor's Note: The Austrian Ski Federation's disciplinary commission found the four appealing athletes innocent of any involvement with doping in Turin. We will now see if the CAS agrees…

On November 1st and 2nd, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne will rule on the appeal of four Austrian cross-country skiers. At the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, police found suspicious materials such as syringes, blood bags, medicines and other equipment at the Austrian’s (Cross-Country and Biathlon) accommodations outside the Olympic Village.

As a result of the police raid, four members of the Austrian Cross-Country Ski Team (Martin Tauber, Juergen Pinter, Roland Diethart and Johannes Eder) were banned for life by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Even though no positive drug tests were confirmed, the IOC banned the athletes based on their possession of drug related materials and equipments. All four skiers maintained their innocence and have filed an appeal of their Olympic ban to the CAS.

As a result of the incidents in Turin, the Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV) has been levied a $1 million fine. In order to pay this amount, the ÖSV came up with a simple three-year plan. Part of that plan is a reduction in the budgets of the Cross-Country and Biathlon divisions of the ÖSV. Each season, both divisions will have to get by with approximately 200,000 Euros less.

Unfortunately, athletes such as Olympic Champion Christian Hoffman and top-sprinter Martin Stockinger are directly affected by these changes. Hoffman’s comment on the situation: “It is not easy. The training is going as planned. However, we all have to deal with cutbacks.” The ÖSV shortened training camps and decreased the number of people on the support team. Also, only a small group of athletes will be able to attend the on-snow training camp in Finland this November.

In July 2007, the ÖSV confirmed that the two biathletes, Wolfgang Perner and Wolfgang Rottman, had been involved in blood doping. Both participated at the Olympic Games in Turin and lived at the accommodation where police found the suspicious material. They are now retired from the sport of biathlon.

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IOC: $1 Milllion Fine for Austria in Turin Blood Doping Scandal
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