It has been almost a month since the IOC ruled Nicklas Backstrom would have to miss the gold medal game for Sweden due to testing positive for elevated level of pseudoephedrine, a banned substance by the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Federation. The substance found was Zyrtec-D, an allergy medication he had been taking for seven years.
The IIHF put up a fight, but lost. And when the Olympic Games packed up from Sochi and left, there was still the matter of whether or not Backstrom would be awarded with his silver medal.
While his teammates were awarded theirs after losing to Canada, Backstrom had to wait for the results of an investigation.
On Friday, the IOC Disciplinary Commission released their decision and Backstrom will indeed get his silver medal.
The IOC Disciplinary Commission (DC), composed of Anita L. DeFrantz (Chairperson), Nawal El Moutawakel and Claudia Bokel, found that the provisional suspension was fully justified, not only due to the presence in excess of the applicable decision limit of PSE in his urine sample, but also due to the fact that the athlete conceded at the hearing, which took place shortly before the final match, that he had also taken medication containing PSE earlier that day.
The IOC DC took into account in particular that the athlete had been cooperative, had disclosed the medication in question in the doping control form and had relied on the specific advice of his team doctor that the intake of the medication would not give rise to an adverse analytical finding. There was also no indication of any intent of the athlete to improve his performance by taking a prohibited substance. Based upon these mitigating circumstances, the IOC DC considered that the athlete should be entitled to receive the silver medal and diploma awarded for men’s ice hockey.
You can read the entire decision here.
Backstrom took the test four days before the gold medal game. He was informed he wouldn't be playing against Canada two hours before puck drop. Before taking his doping test, he had listed Zyrtec-D has a drug he had taken within the previous seven days.
“I have absolutely nothing to hide. I have allergy problems,” he said at the time. “This was shocking to me.”
Backstrom had disclosed this was drug he had taken for allergies and relied on the advice of the Swedish Olympic Committee doctor that the dosage would not trigger a failed test. This wasn't the case of an athlete trying to get ahead.
And while the awarding his silver won't fix the ending to Backstrom's Sochi experience, it rights a little bit of the wrong done by him.
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