Ice-skating: Four-year ban requested for Kostner

Ex-world champ accused of helping Schwazer break doping rules

(ANSA) - Rome, November 28 - Sporting prosecutors on Friday requested that an Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) tribunal ban former ice-skating world champion Carolina Kostner for four years, three months. Kostner is accused of helping her former boyfriend, 2008 50km walk Olympic champion Alex Schwazer, break anti-doping violations. The 27-year-old, who won gold at the 2012 figure-skating world championship and bronze at this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, is also charged with failing to report doping offences to the authorities. Schwazer has been banned from competition until January 2016 after testing positive for the illegal blood-booster EPO just before the London Olympics.
    CONI prosecutors opened a case against Kostner after media reports that she confessed to criminal prosecutors that she helped Schwazer dodge a surprise doping test in July 2012.
    She also reportedly told prosecutors that on occasions Schwazer slept all night in a facemask attached to a mysterious white machine and that she had to use earplugs to block out the noise.
    Prosecutors reportedly suspect that Schwazer used illegal techniques to alter oxygen intake levels, including prior to his 2008 Olympic victory. Doping is a criminal offence in Italy and Bolzano prosecutors investigating the case have uncovered an alleged network of people who were allegedly complicit in Schwazer's illegal drug use.
    Two doctors and an official from the Italian athletics federation are being probed by the criminal prosecutors, along with Schwazer himself.


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