Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle was banned from competition for two years by the International Biathlon Union (IBU) for testing positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Sachenbacher-Stehle claimed from the beginning that she ingested the banned supplement accidentally in one of her several herbal supplements, and in her hearing with the IBU presented test results obtained after the fact to show that, indeed, one of her supplements did contain the substance. Methylhexanamine has been the culprit in many accidental-positive cases across sports. However, the IBU had little sympathy and still applied the maximum ban possible, the same amount of time it doled out to a Russian who tested positive for the blood-doping drug recombinant erythropoetin.
Sachenbacher-Stehle was disappointed with the ruling, and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Their board, headed by Italy’s Luigi Fumagalli, ruled that the ban should be only partially upheld: they reduced the sentence to six months.
Since Sachenbacher-Stehle began her suspension at the Olympics, more than six months have now passed.
“She is therefore eligible to start again in the coming season,” IBU Communications Director Peer Lange wrote in an email to the media this afternoon.
CAS also ruled that the IBU owes Sachenbacher-Stehle 7,500 Euros to cover her legal fees.
The specific reasoning for the decision is not currently available, but Lange wrote that more details would be released soon.
The ruling is in line with many past decisions by CAS and individual federations in methylhexaneamine cases, where sentences for tennis players, swimmers, and track athletes among others have often reduced to six months or one year as opposed to two years.
Chelsea Little is FasterSkier's Editor-At-Large. A former racer at Ford Sayre, Dartmouth College and the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, she is a PhD candidate in aquatic ecology in the @Altermatt_lab at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. You can follow her on twitter @ChelskiLittle.