Alex Schwazer competing in Barcelona in July 2010 ( JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Clean–cut, young and promising. Alex Schwazer was supposed to be a great hope for the Italian Olympics team and fans, yet has become the biggest disappointment of these Games.
The race walk champion was expelled from the London Olympics after testing positive for doping on Monday.
“I was wrong. My career is finished,” said Mr Schwazer, gold medal winner in Beijing in 2008. “I wanted to be stronger for these Olympics,” added the 27-year-old athlete, who is due to give a press conference on Wednesday.
The Italian national Olympic committee removed him from the team and Gianni Petrucci, chairman, spoke of a “bitter day” for Italian sports. “This day has been now ruined by this terrible news that has shocked us. We cannot compromise: one medal down, yet greater cleanliness,” said Mr Petrucci.
Mr Schwazer was not in London, where he was due to defend his title in the 50km race on Sunday. He failed the test for EPO, a blood booster, conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
“I acted alone and take responsibility”, said Mr Schwazer. Read more
Australian Tom Slingsby, a sailor first inspired by Britain’s Ben Ainslie, struck gold on Weymouth’s Nothe course on Monday in a race that saw the island of Cyprus win its first ever Olympic medal, a silver in the same Laser class.
Slingsby, 27, from New South Wales, who has said he is retiring after these games, could have been a professional tennis player but took up Laser single-handed dinghy sailing aged 15 after being inspired by Ainslie’s duelling with Brazilian Robert Scheidt.
And it was these aggressive match-racing skills that saw him through to a gold medal today in strong winds gusting to more than 22 knots. The pair separated from the fleet after a pre-race battle of nerves that became a one-on-one tussle at the back of the fleet, on the opposite side of the course, with Slingsby eventually stretching a gap from his opponent.
Slingsby had gone into Monday’s medal race as the gold favourite after consolidating his place at the top of the leaderboard by winning both races on Saturday.
The four-time world champion was able to put to rest his disappointing result at the 2008 Beijing games. Read more
Following a spate of expulsions from London 2012 in recent days, we thought it might be helpful to give you a little cut-out-and-keep guide to staying IN the Olympics. Stick to these rules†, and when you finally achieve your lifelong ambition to compete in the world’s biggest sports competition, we think you’ll stand a good chance of at least making it through your event.
- Avoid hash brownies. This seems relatively simple: don’t eat foodstuffs laced with illegal drugs. Unfortunately, it appears you can never be *quite* sure with homebaked goods, as Nick Delpopolo, the US judoko expelled on Monday, found out to his cost. “My positive test was caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana”, he said. If you feel you are also at risk of inadvertently consuming food baked with marijuana, our advice would be two-pronged: firstly, consider avoiding brownies altogether for the year before the games. They are, after all, one of the cake-foods most beloved of hash fiends. Don’t despair: there are lots of other tasty, harder-to-make cake products that are less likely to be spiked, such as the bakewell tart, or the classic battenberg. Our second piece of advice is to avoid altogether any baked goods whose provenance you are unclear about, particularly if they have been made by a member of your peer group with a history of drug use, and are being handed out at, say, a party. If you’re really worried, stick to store-bought treats with the wrapping intact.
- Don’t be racist. It’s just plain wrong. Jokes with racist overtones – such as that made by the Greek athlete Paraskevi Papachristou - are a surefire way of getting yourself thrown out of the games. Ditto for offensive remarks directed at another country; Swiss footballer Michel Morganella was rightly expelled when he posted insulting comments about South Koreans.