RAI, LA REPUBBLICA (Italy)
It has become an Olympic tradition for an athlete or two or three to test positive for banned substances during or after the Games. Also traditional are the subsequent heartfelt denials, stone-faced defiance and/or mysterious disappearance of said suspected performance-enhanced athlete.
This year, however, we have a new response: The Weeping Confession.
Italy’s Alex Schwazer, the 2008 Olympic race walk gold medalist who was booted from the London Games on Monday after testing positive for blood bosster EPO, first agreed to a face-to-face interview on Italian national television RAI Uno.
He gets particularly choked up when referring to his girlfriend – Italian figure skating champion Carolina Kostner – to whom he lied about a mysterious box of “vitamins” he was keeping in their refrigerator.
Later, he held a press conference in the northern Italian city of Bolzano, where there was more shame – and more tears.
Still, some doubts remain about how complete the confession really was. Schwazer said he bought the banned substances on his own, traveling alone to Turkey after researching it on the Internet. He also says he never had used banned substances before last month, and was clean when he blew away the field in Beijing in the 50-kilometer walk in Olympic-record time.
In any case, on the human side, Schwazer said between sobs that he was quitting sports and hoping to “begin a normal life.”