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26 May 2002
IOC News , Press Release

IOC Sanctions Members of the Austrian Cross Country Skiing Team

Decision Closes Investigation of Discovery of Blood Transfusion Equipment Left Behind by Athletes Competing at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (26 May 2002)

- The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today in Kuala Lumpur sanctioned two Austrian cross country skiers, their coach and chiropractor for blood doping offences committed during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The IOC also strongly warned the team doctor, Peter Baumgartl, and the Austrian Olympic Committee for allowing this to happen.

The athletes, Marc Mayer (10 km, 10 km pursuit, 50 km, sprint 1.5 km) and Achim Walcher (10 km, 10 km pursuit, 30 km mass start), have been disqualified from the events in which they competed during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Neither athlete was in contention for medals in any event. The IOC will request the International Ski Federation to modify the results of the relevant events and to consider whether it should take any further action within its own competence.

The coach and chiropractor, Walter Mayer and Volker Müller, have been declared ineligible to participate in all Olympic Games up to and including the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The IOC Executive Board took these decisions after hearing today Dr. Heinz Jungwirth, Austrian Olympic Committee secretary general; Walter Mayer, head coach of the Austrian cross country ski team; and Dr. Karl Heinz Klee, legal counsel for Marc Mayer, Achim Walcher, Walter Mayer and Peter Baumgartl.

Shortly after the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the IOC opened an investigation into the discovery of blood transfusion equipment left behind by members of the Austrian cross country skiing team. The medical equipment and empty blood packs were found by a housekeeper cleaning the house they rented.

According to the Olympic Movement Anti-Doping Code (OMAC), blood doping is a prohibited method. It is defined as being the administration of blood, red blood cells and related blood products to an athlete, which my be preceded by withdrawal of blood from the athlete who continues to train in such a blood-depleted state. Conducting blood transfusions to enhance performance is not only unethical and prohibited by the OMAC but is also dangerous to the health of the athlete.

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