ROME (AFP) –
Italy’s disgraced 50km walk champion Alex Schwazer, who was withdrawn from the Olympics for failing a drugs test, said Wednesday he would be happy for the IOC to retest his Beijing doping sample.
“I could only be happy for all my past doping samples to be retested and the results published,” an emotional Schwazer said at a press conference, insisting that the London Olympics had been the first time that he had taken drugs.
Schwazer won gold at Beijing four years ago, after being a bronze medallist at the 2005 and 2007 World Championships.
The walker, 27, tested positive this week for the banned blood booster EPO, which he said he had purchased from a pharmacy in Turkey, after looking on the internet to find out where he could buy it without having a prescription.
“The last three weeks have been the most difficult of my life,” Schwazer said through his sobs, as he described having to lie constantly to his entourage and his girlfriend, Italian figure skating champion Carolina Kostner.
He said his decision to take EPO was driven by his increasing unhappiness over his life as a top sportsman, insisting he is relieved it is all over.
“Since 2010 I’ve not been feeling good. And when the Olympic Games came around, I was no longer clear-headed, I put myself under a great amount of pressure, I wanted to come back even stronger than before,” he said.
“I’m sick of walking. I couldn’t take the training sessions any more,” he said, adding that while most athletes are driven by a passion for their sport, “I only walk because I’m good at it.”
He had been one of Italy’s best medal hopes in London after a solid start to the season which saw him clock the fourth best time of his career.