March 14 - Sweden's Nicklas Bäckström has been cleared of any wrongdoing and awarded an Olympic silver medal after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) found the ice hockey player had not intentionally taken a performance enhancing drug.
Bäckström tested positive for pseudoephedrine (PSE) on February 19 following Sweden's quarter-final victory over Slovakia at Sochi 2014, and was subsequently banned from playing in the men's ice hockey final which the Swedes lost 3-0 to Canada.
The 26-year-old claimed the banned substance came from an allergy medication he had been taking for seven years and was advised by the Swedish team doctor Bjorn Waldeback that the medication was safe to take.
An IOC Disciplinary Commission, composed of Anita DeFrantz, Nawal El Moutawakel and Claudia Bokel, found that Bäckström did not intend to improve his performance by taking a banned substance and took into account that "the athlete had been cooperative, had disclosed the medication in question in the doping control form and had relied on the specific advice of his team doctor that the intake of the medication would not give rise to an adverse analytical finding."
However, the Commission insisted that "the provisional suspension was fully justified, not only due to the presence in excess of the applicable decision limit of PSE in his urine sample, but also due to the fact that the athlete conceded at the hearing (which took place shortly before the Olympic final), that he had also taken medication containing PSE earlier that day."
Bäckström, who plays for the Washington Capitals in the National Hockey League (NHL), was named in the Swedish line-up for the Olympic final but was informed that he could not play just a matter of hours before the match was due to start.
When news of his failed drugs test emerged after the game, Waldeback said tBäckström was "an innocent victim of circumstances", while Swedish coach Pär Mårts said the decision "sucked" and was "a miscarriage of justice".
The IOC says a record total of 2,667 drugs tests were carried out at Sochi 2014 - 2,190 urine tests and 477 blood tests.
While Bäckström was cleared of intentionally doping, he is one of six athletes to fail a drugs test at Sochi 2014.
German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle was the first to test positive, followed by Italian bobsledder William Frullani, Ukrainian cross-country skier Marina Lisogor, Latvian ice hockey playerVitalijs Pavlovs and Austrian cross-country skier Johannes Duerr.
Meanwhile, a second unnamed Latvian ice hockey player is reported to have a failed a drugs test at the Games and is currently under investigation.
To view the full decision of the IOC Disciplinary Committee, click here.
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