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Schwazer defends beijing gold, IOC may recheck '08 samples

'I bought EPO on my own in Turkey' says disgraced walk champ

Schwazer defends beijing gold, IOC may recheck '08 samples

(ANSA) - London, August 8 - Olympic officials on Wednesday said 50km-walk champion Alex Schwazer's urine samples from the Beijing Games may be re-examined after he was excluded from the London Games this week for doping. "The samples are conserved and they can be analysed again for eight years, so athletes guilty of doping should know that if they get away with it at one Olympics, there's always the chance they will lose the medal later," the International Olympics Committee's Communications Director Mark Adams said on Wednesday. Schwazer, who spoke later at a news conference in the northern Italian city of Bolzano, said the extra scrutiny would prove he did not take performance-enhancing drugs prior to last month. The results from that test were processed this week, showing traces of the blood-boosting hormone EPO. "I'm just happy that all of my drug tests in the past few years, including those of the 2008 Olympics, are being re-analyzed and made public. All doctors in good faith have to say that there are no traces of doping," he said. "In Beijing, my test results were like those of an anemic person, which proves that I was not doping". Many have speculated that Schwazer would have needed help from a medical professional in order to obtain the illegal substances. He denied that was true Wednesday. "I went to Turkey to buy EPO," he said. "I did everything on my own. I left with 1,500 euros and I bought the product in a pharmacy". EPO is a common blood-boosting hormone. "It was the first and only time I've ever bought a drug like this, because I've always been clean". Schwazer said Tuesday he found the drug online, where he also learned how to use it. On Wednesday he admitted to having had contact with Michele Ferrari, who was banned last month from sport for life over numerous anti-doping violations. Schwazer said the contact ended last year amid accusations of Ferrari administering drugs to cyclists. "I contacted Dr. Ferrari in 2009 for technical advice, nothing more...Since 2011, when the cycling news surfaced, I haven't spoken to him again". A police officer and former ice-hockey player from the northern Italian town of Vitipeno, Schwazer set an Olympic record four years ago in Beijing by covering the longest race in the athletics program in three hours, 37 minutes and nine seconds. His girlfriend is Italy's figure-skating world champion Carolina Kostner, who Schwazer said Wednesday knew nothing about his drug use. "My girlfriend loves ice-skating, whereas I walk because I'm good at it, but I don't enjoy it," he said. "That's the difference between my relationship with sports and Carolina's".

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