German athlete tests positive at Olympics
SOCHI, Russia — An unidentified German athlete has failed a drug test in the first announced doping case of the Sochi Olympics.
The German Olympic Committee said Friday it had been notified by the IOC late Thursday that one of its athletes had tested positive on an “A” sample. The backup “B” sample will be analyzed Friday, the German committee said.
The Germans did not name the athlete, the sport or the substance involved.
Olympic athletes face formal doping charges if both samples are positive. It’s rare for a “B” sample to contradict the original “A” finding.
The International Olympic Committee would not confirm or deny the positive test, staying in line with its procedures on any doping investigations.
“I won’t comment on whether a process is even underway,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press.
Any athlete found guilty of a doping violation faces disqualification and removal of results and medals.
Germany has 16 medals so far in Sochi, including eight golds.
Stefan Schwarzbach, the German team spokesman for cross-country and biathlon, said he wasn’t allowed to comment on whether the test involved those events or another sport.
“All I can say is, we have a positive ‘A’ sample (somewhere on the German Olympic team),” he said. “But as long as we don’t have a positive ‘B’ sample, we are not allowed to talk about that.”
The IOC is conducting 2,453 drug tests in Sochi, a record for the Winter Games. The majority of tests are in strength and endurance sports, notably cross-country skiing and biathlon, events where the use of EPO and other blood-boosting drugs can aid stamina.
The IOC also stores Olympic doping samples to allow for retesting when new methods become available. The storage period has been extended from eight to 10 years under the next World Anti-Doping Code.
Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the IOC medical commission, said last weekend that he was not surprised there had been no doping cases until then.
“It’s expected that people don’t cheat and those who do are not here,” Ljungqvist said, noting that only one positive case was recorded at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
A Russian biathlete, Irina Starykh, withdrew from the Sochi Olympics because she failed a doping test before the games.