More than six months after the fact, Nicklas Backstrom has finally received the Olympic silver medal that he was ruled ineligible for back in February. The Washington Capitals center was disqualified for the gold-medal game at the 2014 Winter Olympics after he had a positive doping test. The International Olympic Committee later ruled that it was clear Backstrom hadn’t intended to enhance his performance despite the positive test for pseudoephedrine, but rather his team’s doctor should have known better.
Nicklas BackstromIOC: Backstrom cleared of doping violation
Additionally, Backstrom said he declared that he was taking medication for allergies like all players had to, but was still ruled ineligible.
Backstrom received the medal Thursday in a special ceremony in his native Sweden.
Though Backstrom now has the medal in his possession, it won't reverse history.
Backstrom was ruled out for the gold-medal game mere hours before the puck was set to drop.
"While I will always be disappointed that I wasn't able to play in the gold medal game with my fellow countrymen, I'm pleased that my name has been cleared by the IOC," Backstrom said in a statement after being cleared in March. "It is important to me that the IOC has acknowledged that I had asked for and received specific advice from my team doctor that taking this allergy medication would not be a violation.
"In addition, I had disclosed my use of over-the-counter medication prior to being tested."
It appeared that there were a series of mistakes that led to both the positive test and the interpretation of the doping rules. It robbed Backstrom of the opportunity of playing for gold himself and cost Sweden their top center after already being without other players like Henrik Zetterberg who had to withdraw due to injury.
Sweden ended up losing 3-0 to Canada in the final.
The good news is that Backstrom finally has a token of his participation in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in which he had four assists in five games for the silver medalists. A lot of silver medalists may see their Olympic prize as a bittersweet one, but Backstrom’s may have a little extra bitterness after what transpired to prevent him from playing in what would have been the biggest game of his career.