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Doping inquiry into Olympic race walker widens

Published June 19, 2013 9:40 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rome • Italian investigators have expanded their doping investigation into former Olympic race walk champion Alex Schwazer.

Authorities raided the offices of Italy's Olympic committee and athletics federation as part of a probe into what they suspect was a cover-up involving coaches and doctors.

Prosecutors in Schwazer's hometown of Bolzano on Wednesday named five people who have been placed under investigation in the case. They are Schwazer's former coach Michele Didoni, Italian athletics federation medical director Giuseppe Fischetto, federation physician Pierluigi Fiorella, federation secretary Rita Bottiglieri and equestrian athlete Karl Wechselberger.

The five are accused of being aware of Schwazer's doping before he tested positive and failing to report it.

On Tuesday, authorities raided the offices of Italy's Olympic committee and athletics federation as part of the Bolzano inquiry. Schwazer was banned by the Italian Olympic Committee for 3 1-2 years in April.

Schwazer, who won the 50-kilometer walk at the 2008 Beijing Games, was excluded from last year's London Olympics after testing positive for EPO before the games. Prosecutors now believe coaches and physicians knew that Schwazer was doping long before he tested positive, possibly stretching back to Beijing.