Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018
LONDON

Father of Olympic walk champ takes blame in doping scandal

English
© ANSA

(ANSA) - London, August 7 - The father of disgraced Italian
Olympic walk champion Alex Schwazer said Tuesday he blames
himself for the doping scandal that led to his son's exclusion
from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
"The responsibility is all mine, because if you see a child
who throughout the years has been behaving badly, one must
understand and must try to talk to him about it," Josef Schwazer
said tearfully from his home in Bolzano on Tuesday.
He joined a chorus of voices trying to make sense of why
Italy's defending Olympic 50km-walk champion used banned
substances.
On Monday Alex Schwazer took full responsibility after he
was expelled from competition for failing a drug test.
His father suggested Schwazer, who won the gold medal in
the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was afraid of failure.
"The last time he left here, he was shattered," and perhaps
feared disappointing others, his father added.
"This was 100% the first time he made use of these
substances".
Schwazer tested positive for the blood-boosting hormone EPO
according to exams taken on July 30 in Oberstdorf, Germany,
where he was training, local sources said.
An Olympic official on Tuesday called the doping a
"shameful act," but said it also demonstrates that controls for
illegal substances work.
"I am sad for Italian sport, but also happy about this
disqualification because this means that the fight against
doping is working," Mario Pescante, a member of the
International Olympic Committee and a former
middle-distance runner, told RAI radio.
Schwazer would have needed a doctor's help with the
substance, he added, but that still doesn't remove the athlete's
culpability.
At the same time, said Pescante, this incident does not
tarnish Schwazer's 2008 gold medal.
Schwazer admitted guilt once his coach made the news
public, and said it had destroyed his athletic career.
"It's better if you don't ask me how I feel. I made a
mistake," Schwazer told ANSA on Monday.
"I wanted to be stronger for this Olympics. I made a
mistake".
In a statement, the 28-year-old said his career was over.
"I did everything by myself, and thus I assume all of the
responsibility for what has happened. Today my life in athletics
is over".
His coach dismissed those comments, telling ANSA that the
defending champ needed to "grow up and change his life" after
the news of his drug test and subsequent expulsion surfaced.
"I didn't even want to ask him why he did it. There is no
justification. At 28, you're a man, not a child."
Another former gold medalist suggested the pressure on a
champion to win again is intense, but that is no excuse.
"He made a mistake, but he wasn't alone," Abdon Pamich, who
won the Italian team a gold medal in the 50km event in the 1964
Tokyo Olympics, told ANSA.
"After the gold in Beijing, things had changed. Maybe he
couldn't withstand the responsibilities and was afraid of
defeat".
A police officer and former ice-hockey player from the
northern Italian town of Vitipeno, Schwazer set an Olympic
record four years ago in Beijing by covering the longest race in
the athletics program in three hours, 37 minutes and nine
seconds.
His girlfriend is Italy's figure-skating world champion
Carolina Kostner.
Schwazer is to speak at a press conference Wednesday in
Bolzano.

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