• Schwarzer Questioned Over Doping

Article source: Athletics

Former Olympic race walk champion Alex Schwazer was questioned for several hours by the Italian Olympic Committee on Tuesday after being excluded from the London Games for doping.

The 27-year-old Schwazer won the 50-kilometre event at the 2008 Beijing Games. He failed an out-of-competition test before arriving in London and was removed from Italys team before competing. He then admitted using the blood-boosting hormone EPO and said he was quitting the sport.

"I said the same things I said three months ago, theres nothing else," he told waiting journalists after the hearing. "I am disappointed that you are all here - when I won the gold at Beijing there was one-fifth as many of you as there are now. That says a lot about sport."

Schwazer is being investigated by a Rome court as well as prosecutors in his hometown of Bolzano and in Padua, where an inquiry into banned physician Michele Ferrari is based. Schwazer has admitted consulting with Ferrari.

Schwazer added that he had answered questions at the CONI hearing about Ferrari and also about his girlfriend Carolina Kostner, the reigning womens figure skating world champion.

"It was clarified that Kostner visited Dr. Ferrari once, when she accompanied Alex to a race," Schwazers lawyer Gerhard Brandstaetter said. "Its something she doesn't come into. The rest is only nasty and gratuitous speculation. She doesn't have anything to do with it.

"The facts have already been noted. He's calm and relaxed and now he's looking to the future. It's a sad moment after so many years of sacrifices and huge successes for Italy too. He made a serious mistake, he admitted it and clarified everything. He was a great athlete and a golden boy and he has a future ahead of him."

The IOC is considering a retest of Schwazer's samples from the Beijing Games. He maintains he was clean at the time.

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