Italy

Alex Schwazer competing in Barcelona in July 2010 ( JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

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 >>