SOCHI, Russia: Winter Olympics Games officials revealed that a fifth competitor had failed a drugs test.
Austrian cross-country skier Johannes Duerr, who had been due to take part in the men’s 50km later on Sunday, tested positive for blood booster EPO in a precompetition test in Austria on February 16, organizers said.
Duerr is the fifth athlete to be excluded over a positive doping test from the Sochi Games, where the International Olympic Committee is carrying out more tests than ever with a new emphasis on precompetition tests.
The Austrian took part on February 9 in the first cross-country event of Sochi 2014, the skiathlon, finishing eighth.
But he tested positive for EPO a week later in a precompetition doping control in Obertilliach, Austria, on February 16.
The Austrian National Olympic Committee confirmed the positive test.
“We are shocked by this news and have immediately taken the corresponding measures,” said Karl Stoss, president of the committee.
Ukrainian cross country skier Marina Lisogor, Latvian men’s ice hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs, German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Italian bobsledder William Frullani all failed tests at the Games.
Despite the late flurry of doping shocks, Russian officials are keen to bask in a 16-day showpiece that passed off relatively unscathed.
“The ice of the scepticism towards the new Russia has been broken,” said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.