German athlete tests positive at Sochi Olympics

Associated Press

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — 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.

Stefan Schwarzbach, spokesman for Germany's cross-country and biathlon teams, said the "B'' sample also came back positive.

He said the athlete competes for Germany's ski federation, but declined to say if it's a male or female competitor or whether the sport is cross-country, biathlon or Nordic combined.

Schwarzbach said the athlete tested positive for a stimulant, not the blood-booster EPO or similar drugs, and suggested it could involve a nutritional supplement.

"There is a positive 'A' sample. There is a positive 'B' sample," he 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.

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.

The only previous German athlete sanctioned for doping at a Winter Olympics was hockey player Alois Schloder, who was disqualified from the 1972 Sapporo Games after a positive test for ephedrine.

German-born cross-country skier Johan Muehlegg was competing for Spain in 2002 when he was caught doping and stripped of one of his three gold medals at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

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.

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AP Sports Writer Mattias Karen in Krasnaya Polyana contributed to this report.

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Follow Stephen Wilson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap

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