Doping: IOC welcomes Austrian coach Mayer's conviction

Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:20pm GMT

By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has welcomed the conviction of former Austrian skiing coach Walter Mayer for doping, applauding his country's tough anti-doping laws.

Mayer was at the heart of two of the biggest doping scandals to hit the Winter Olympics, first at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and four years later in Turin, Italy.

"While it is not our role to pass judgment on court rulings, we believe we do have a duty to alert the public to show we take the fight against doping seriously and to discourage athletes and their entourages from doping," the IOC told Reuters in an e-mailed response on Friday.

"In this respect, the IOC welcomes the recent decision by the Austrian court."

In May 2002, the IOC declared Mayer ineligible to participate in all Olympics up to and including the 2010 Olympic Winter Games following a blood transfusion scandal during the 2002 Games.

After he was reappointed national cross-country skiing coach, the 54-year-old's presence "in a private capacity" at the Turin Olympics triggered raids by Italian police on Austrian athletes' accommodations and a hasty escape across the border by Mayer.

Ten Austrian athletes were tested for signs of doping but were found to be clean.

Mayer crashed his car into a police road-block near the Italian-Austrian border having left Turin on the day of the raids.   Continued...

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