Former figure skating world champion Carolina Kostner is likely to face punishment for skipping a hearing before Italian authorities in connection with doping by Alex Schwazer, her former boyfriend and Olympic race walking gold medalist.
On Friday, Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping prosecutor asked Kostner, the 2014 Olympic bronze medalist and 2012 world champion, about allegations. It is believed that Kostner told judicial officials in Bolzano that she assisted Alex Schwazer evade a test and had knowledge that he slept with a banned altitude machine. Kostner, who is retired from competition, requested the Italian Anti-Doping Agency (CONI) hearing to be moved up a few hours so that she can prepare for the Opera on Ice show in Verona this weekend. In a statement, CONI said the lawyer of Kostner sent an email early Friday and said she would not show up and that one more final hearing would be scheduled.
Gerhard Brandstaetter, Schwazer's lawyer, said Carolina Kostner has absolutely nothing to do with this case. But, recently published reports of the testimony of Kostner to Bolzano prosecutors has revealed that she allegedly admitted to lying to inspectors from the World Anti-Doping Agency when they came to her home in Germany on July 29, 2012 — days before Schwazer flew to London for the Olympics - for Schwazer. It is believed that Kostner allegedly said Schwazer asked her to inform the inspectors that he was not home and she carried out his instructions. Kostner also allegedly told the prosecutors about the altitude chamber and added that the noise it produced at night prompted her to sleep with ear plugs. Altitude simulation chambers are illegal in Italy though not banned by WADA.
The 27-year-old Kostner now risks a ban of up to four years from all sports activities in Italy and abroad for aiding and failing to report the doping activities of Schwazer. Schwazer, who won the 50-kilometer walk at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was excluded from the London 2012 Olympics after he tested for Erythropoietin (EPO) before the games. Prosecutors believe that doctors and coaches knew beforehand that Alex Schwazer was doping long before he tested positive, possibly dating to Beijing.
In August 2012, Italian race walker Alex Schwazer admitted to buying banned substance EPO and said he lied about it to Kostner, his fiancée, as he stored it in their fridge. Schwazer revealed that he bought EPO in Turkey and took the last EPO injection on July 29, a day before anti-doping controllers came to visit him. Schwazer was banned by CONI for 3 ½ years in April 2013. Schwazer admitted to EPO doping and also admitted to consulting with Michele Ferrari, the banned sport doctor of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Ottavio Cinquanta, the president of the ISU and a CONI board member, said he wanted to let the Italian Anti-Doping Agency do its job without any interference. Cinquanta remarked he don't know exactly what she did but she has to maintain contact with CONI and added the fact that people are talking about it certainly isn't good.
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