By Michael Pavitt

Carolina Kostner is set to serve a 16-month ban which would see her able to compete at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty ImagesCarolina Kostner, the Sochi 2014 figure skating bronze medallist, has spoken of her disappointment after being given a 16-month ban from sport having been found to have assisted her former boyfriend, Olympic race walking champion Alex Schwazer, cover up his doping.

Beijing 2008 50 kilometres race-walking gold medallist Schwazer of Italy tested positive for erythropoietin use days before he was due to defend his title at London 2012 and was given a three-and-a-half-year ban.

Italian former figure skating world champion Kostner was summoned to appear at a hearing in September accused of assisting Schwazer, with Italian Olympic Committee prosecutors alleging that she had helped the race-walker avoid a drugs test earlier in 2012.

Kostner denied having anything to do with Schwazer's doping, although she admitted she had lied to drug testers when they arrived to test the Olympic champion in July 2012.

The anti-doping prosecutor had suggested that Kostner serve a four-year ban from her sport, which would have seen the figure skater ruled out of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.

However, they had to settle for a 16-month ban, leaving her eligible to compete in the Games.

Alex Schwazer retired from athletics in 2012, after testing positive for erythropoietin ©Getty ImagesAlex Schwazer retired from athletics in 2012, after testing positive for erythropoietin ©Getty Images

"I have no words to describe the disappointment, the humiliation and the pain I feel as an athlete and as a person," Kostner said following news of the ban.

"This time it's really hard, but I will get up as I have done on many other occasions.

"I see that the Court has acquitted me of the objection of failure to report and I think the courts have understood that I had nothing to do with doping, but that is not enough for me.

"I feel hurt and what bothers me mainly, is that my name might be in some way associated with doping, knowing how much I am opposed to this wrong practice, which is dangerous to health and, above all, against the sporting spirit."

Italian sport newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport believes Kostner is set to contest her ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Kostner had already confirmed before the investigation that she was to take the 2014 to 2015 season off.

Schwazer announced his retirement from athletics following his positive test.

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September 2014: Kostner summoned by investigators over claims she was complicit in Olympic champion's doping
June 2013: IAAF "categorically refutes" Schwazer doping cover-up
August 2012: Failed drugs test Italian Olympic champion walker leaves London 2012 and athletics for good