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Austrian ski official testifies in Turin doping scandal

Austrian ski official testifies in Turin doping scandal

An Austrian Ski Federation official testified Wednesday that he wasn't aware of any team members using performance-enhancing drugs at last year's Turin Olympics.
"I'm not aware of anything," Markus Gandler, the federation's cross country and biathlon sports director, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after testifying before an International Olympic Committee disciplinary commission in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Last week, the IOC executive board banned six Austrian cross-country and biathlon athletes from the Olympics for life for involvement in blood-doping violations at the Turin Games.
The Austrians _ cross-country skiers Martin Tauber, Juergen Pinter, Johannes Eder and Roland Diethart, and biathletes Wolfgang Perner and Wolfgang Rottmann _ were found guilty of possessing doping substances and taking part in a conspiracy.
The IOC could hand down more suspensions ahead of its upcoming executive board meeting in Guatemala, spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said.
"If there needs to be urgent decisions before that, the disciplinary committee can recommend them and the executive board can take action," Moreau said.
Gandler, noting that he could not speak for the retired Perner and Rottmann, said he told the panel that the athletes implicated in the scandal were willing to provide DNA samples. But the panel didn't seem interested in this, he said.
Gandler said that during the course of his roughly 3 1/2-hour hearing, he "chronologically" recounted all that had happened in Turin.
"I told them everything I knew, but I'm not sure it will be enough," Gandler said.
The Austria Press Agency reported that Gandler didn't get the impression the commission believed him when he said he didn't notice anything in Turin.
Peter Baumgartl, a team doctor, was also scheduled to testify but opted instead to submit a written statement.
Baumgartl told the AP by telephone that he was unaware of any doping-related activity in Turin.
"If it turns out there's something to this, then it happened behind my back," Baumgartl said, adding he was ready "at any time" to cooperate further with the IOC.
Baumgartl said he lived with the Austrian ski jumpers during the Olympics and left halfway through for personal reasons, in an arrangement that had been agreed upon before the games started.
In 2002, Baumgartl received a "strong warning" from the IOC in connection with an Austrian doping scandal at the Salt Lake City Olympics.
Heinz Jungwirth, the general secretary of the Austrian Olympic Committee, said Tuesday that the ski federation had received a list of items seized by Italian police during a raid on the athletes' living quarters at the 2006 Winter Games but kept its existence secret until recently.
APA quoted Gandler as saying he was open to talking with Jungwirth "at any time."
"I'll sit down with Heinz Jungwirth straight away _ if he wants to," Gandler said.
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Associated Press writer Bradley S. Klapper contributed to this report from Geneva, Switzerland.


Updated : 2021-01-18 17:28 GMT+08:00