German, Italian Athletes Become 1st to Test Positive at 2014 Winter Olympics

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2014

VAL DI FIEMME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 27:  Johannes Duerr of Austria in action during the Men's Cross Country Individual 15km at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships on February 27, 2013 in Val di Fiemme, Italy.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Updates from Sunday, Feb. 23

According to the Associated Press (via CTV News), Austrian cross-country skier Johannes Duerr:

The Austrian Olympic Committee says cross-country skier Johannes Duerr has been suspended after testing positive for EPO.

It is the fifth doping case of the Sochi Games and the first involving the blood-boosting drug.

Duerr finished eighth in the men's skiathlon on Feb. 9 and was tested seven days later in Austria. He was due to compete in the 50-kilometre mass start cross-country race on Sunday, the final day of the Olympics.

Steve Wilson of the Associated Press provides quotes from Duerr:

Updates from Saturday, Feb. 22

According to the Associated Press, Ukrainian cross-country skier Marina Lisogor has also tested positive:

The Ukrainian Olympic Committee says cross-country skier Marina Lisogor has failed a doping test, the third positive result of the Sochi Games.

Lisogor tested positive for trimetazidine, which is classified as a "specified stimulant" on the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list. Specified substances are considered more susceptible to inadvertent use and can carry reduced penalties.

Lisogor competed in two cross-country events at the Sochi Games, finishing far out of the medals.

According to the Ukrainian Olympic Committee on Saturday, Lisogor says she did not knowingly take a banned substance.

Original Text

Biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle has become the first individual to deliver an abnormal A sample at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, as first reported by Reuters via The Independent. The German was quickly followed by Italian bobsledder William Frullani, who was kicked out of the games, according to ESPN.

Associated Press reporter Steve Wilson confirmed Sachenbacher-Stehle's ban:

The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), alerted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said via Sky Sports that the "'A' sample of a member of the German Olympic team produced a result that diverged from the norm."

Stefan Schwarzbach, the German spokesman for the successful cross-country and biathlon teams, also confirmed that the athlete's A sample failed to meet regulations. But at the time, he also said that without "a positive 'B' sample, we are not allowed to talk about that."

Lia Hervey, Olympics Producer for Sky Sports News, confirmed the breaking story:

ESPN later provided more details on the failed test and confirmation on the B sample from Germany:

"There is a positive 'A' sample. There is a positive 'B' sample," Stefan Schwarzbach, spokesman for Germany's cross-country and biathlon teams, said. "And that means we have a case of doping, without a question. It's a stimulant, so it's not EPO or something like that. So there might be a possible explanation that the substance was in an extra nutrition."

Schwarzbach said the IOC held a hearing into the case, and the Germans are waiting for full report before they can comment further.

Felipe Dana/Associated Press

Sachenbacher-Stehle had already competed in several biathlon events in Sochi, but hadn't won a medal. Her best showing was a fourth-place finish in the mass start on Feb. 17 and a fourth-place finish in the mixed relay. She's appeared in three Winter Olympics, and has won five medals, including a gold in team sprint at Vancouver and a gold in 4x5 km at Salt Lake City.

Frullani reportedly tested positive for dimethylamphetamine, a banned stimulant, according to Wilson:

ESPN reported that the bobsledder was removed from the Italians' four-man sled and replaced by Samuele Romanini.

THOMAS KIENZLE/Associated Press

Frullani was a former international decathlete, but had switched over to bobsled and gained a spot on Italy's Olympic squad at age 34. 

Only recently, Richard Conway, sports news correspondent of BBC Radio 5 Live, reported on Arne Ljungqvist's statement on drug testing at the games. Ljungqvist is the the head of the IOC's medical commission and was commenting on the merits of retrospective testing and cheating.

Conway's report included a warning from Ljungqvist:

Who is smartest? The athletes and their entourage or our scientists?

I put my money on our scientists - [they are] probably smarter than those who are around the athletes.

The message to the athletes is that if you cheat, if you take drugs, if we don't find you now we will find you sooner or later.

The IOC would not directly confirm or deny the positive test. This stance stays in line with its procedures on any investigations into drug use.

The Sky Sports report quoted IOC spokesman Mark Adams saying, "I won't comment on whether a process is even underway."

Sochi 2014 has been a huge success for the Germans. Currently, they sit sixth in the medals table with eight gold medals, along with four silver medals and four bronze medals, per

They have dominated the luge event, where they have slid to five individual medals, including four first-place finishes. The news of a positive drug test will come as a crushing blow to the team after such major victories.

The Italians, meanwhile, have accrued eight medals, none of them gold.