London Olympics: 2008 Olympic race walking champion ousted from Games for failed drug test
LONDON — Defending Olympic 50K race walk champion Alex Schwazer was caught doping in Italy and will miss the London Games.
The Italian Olympic Committee, also known as CONI, said Monday that Schwazer had been removed from the team. CONI President Gianni Petrucci said Schwazer had admitted to doping on what was a "bitter day" for Italian sports.
Earlier Monday, the team said an unidentified athlete had failed a doping test conducted for the World Anti-Doping Agency before arriving in London. Details of the offense were not given.
The 27-year-old Schwazer was set to defend his 2008 Olympic title in the 50-kilometer walk on Saturday. Schwazer won gold at the Beijing Games in an Olympic record time of 3 hours, 37 minutes, 9 seconds.
His doping confession Monday meant "one less medal but more cleaning" house, Petrucci told Italian state television.
Schwazer's agent, Gloria Mancini, told The Associated Press that his entourage had no idea he was doping.
"We are bitterly surprised," Mancini said in a telephone interview. "Especially since this is an athlete who has always condemned doping in the strongest terms."
The Italian athletics federation said it was notified of Schwazer's doping test results on Monday afternoon.
"While fully agreeing with CONI's choice, (the federation) expresses deep disappointment for what happened, underlining its strong stance of condemnation against every form of doping," it said in a statement.
Schwazer also had entered last Saturday's 20K walk, but withdrew citing a cold, according to the official London Olympics website.
The two-time world championships bronze medalist works as a police officer, according to his biography on the site. He is one of the best known athletes in the 286-member Italian team at the London Games. His girlfriend, Carolina Kostner, is the reigning women's figure skating world champion.
U.S. JUDO FIGHTER EXPELLED FOR DOPING: American judo fighter Nick Delpopolo was expelled from the Olympics for doping Monday, saying he unintentionally ate something before the games that had been baked with marijuana.
Delpopolo is the first of the 10,500 London Games athletes to fail an in-competition doping test. His case is the fifth positive test for a banned substance reported by the IOC since the Olympic body started its London testing program in mid-July. The other four were caught before competing.
The International Olympic Committee said it disqualified him from the 73-kilogram class, where he placed seventh.
The IOC added that he tested positive for metabolites of cannabis after competing on July 30, the day of his event. He is to be stripped of his accreditation immediately, and the IOC will ask the International Judo Federation to change the standings in Delpopolo's event.
The 23-year-old judoka from Westfield, N.J., said his positive test was "caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana" before he left for the Olympics.
"I apologize to U.S. Olympic Committee, to my teammates, and to my fans, and I am embarrassed by this mistake," he said in a statement released by the USOC. "I look forward to representing my country in the future, and will rededicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be."
USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement his group is "absolutely committed to clean competition and stringent anti-doping penalties. Any positive test, for any banned substance, comes with the appropriate consequences and we absolutely support the disqualification."
Delpopolo was born Petra Perovic in the former Yugoslavia and was adopted by an American family. Before the games, Delpopolo said in his official Olympic biography that he found training for London to be intense and he would like to return to study.
"I would also like to try and get a job wherever; it wouldn't matter to me," he said on the website. "These two things would be a good change of pace from the 'always train' life I live now. Don't get me wrong, I would still practice, train and compete judo but not as intense or as much as I am now. But in 2014 I would start preparing for the 2016 Games again."
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