Schwazer celebrating his victory at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
“I wanted everything, but lost everything”.
Alex Schwazer, the Italian race walk champion expelled from the London Olympics for failing doping tests, confirmed his use of EPO and said he acted alone, at a press conference in northern Italy on Wednesday.
Sobbing, the young athlete confessed his sense of “shame”, along with his anxiety of not living up to expectations after winning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
“For these Games I wanted to be stronger and wasn’t able to say ‘no’ to doping”, he said.
The runner explained that he wanted to quit the sport more than once but felt the pressure of his family and peers to keep on going. “I was tired and fed up”, Mr Schwazer said.
The 27-year old racer said he bought the doping shots in Turkey, in September last year. For €1500, “the pharmacists gave me what I wanted”, he said. His last injection with the blood booster was the day before the test on July 30.
He said he agreed to the tests by the World Anti-Doping Agency in a “conscious suicide”, in order “to be freed from this burden”. Read more
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