Carolina Kostner, the Italian bronze medalist from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, will make a return to international sports after she reached an agreement with anti-doping authorities.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Carolina Kostner has since recognized that she committed a serious error of judgment by misleading the doping control officer, and she has accepted that her conduct violated the Italian anti-doping rules. It was announced by Arbitration officials that the 2011 Grand Prix Final champion agreed to have her penalty increased from 16 months to 21 months and have it backdated.
CAS said in a statement the resulting twenty one month ineligibility period is backdated to 1 April 2014 based on procedural delays that are not attributable to Carolina Kostner and she will therefore be eligible to compete from 1 January 2016. As a result, Carolina will not lose the bronze medals she won at the Sochi Olympics or 2014 world championships as those competitions ended before April 1.
During interrogations, Kostner revealed that Schwazer slept in an altitude chamber that is illegal in Italy but not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Carolina Kostner failed to attend a hearing organized in September 2014 by the Italian Anti-Doping Agency (CONI) to investigate her comments to the prosecutors. She was banned for 16 months from participating for her role in the doping case on January 17, 2015. The ban started immediately and was to end on May 15, 2016.
Kostner, a six-time world championships medalist and five-time European champion, won an Olympic medal at her third Winter Games with a sultry performance to Ravel's Bolero in Sochi last year. The Italian figure skater is also a medalist at four other European Championships (2006, 2009, 2011, 2014), five other World Championships (2005, 2008, 2011, 2013 - 2014), and three other Grand Prix Finals (2007, 2008, 2010), a seven-time Italian national champion, and the 2003 World Junior bronze medalist. In 2001, Carolina became the first Italian skater to medal at Junior Worlds when she bagged the bronze medal. She won her first European medal in 2006 and was selected to be flag bearer for the host Italian team during the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics. Carolina won her first European title at the 2007 European Championships and won her second European title at the 2008 Europeans after winning the short program and placing second in the free skate.
The former figure skating world champion was banned for 16 months. The five-time European champion was banned after she was found guilty of assisting her then-boyfriend -- Olympic race walker Alex Schwazer -- to hide from a tester who showed up at the former home of the couple. Alex Schwazer received a ban after he tested positive for the blood-boosting hormone EPO. Schwazer, who struck gold in the 50km walk at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, received a doping ban of three and half years and admitted lying to officials when they arrived at her home looking for him so that a sample for a drug test could be collected. The race walker pulled out of defending his Olympic title in London in 2012 and admitted he bought Erythropoietin. Schwazer also admitted that he lied to Kostner about storing the banned substance in their fridge.
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