BERLIN Aug 19 The International Olympic
Committee (IOC) has welcomed the conviction of former Austrian
skiing coach Walter Mayer for doping, applauding his country's
tough anti-doping laws.
Mayer was at the heart of two of the biggest doping scandals
to hit the Winter Olympics, first at the 2002 Salt Lake City
Games and four years later in Turin, Italy.
"While it is not our role to pass judgment on court rulings,
we believe we do have a duty to alert the public to show we take
the fight against doping seriously and to discourage athletes
and their entourages from doping," the IOC told Reuters in an
e-mailed response on Friday.
"In this respect, the IOC welcomes the recent decision by
the Austrian court."
In May 2002, the IOC declared Mayer ineligible to
participate in all Olympics up to and including the 2010 Olympic
Winter Games following a blood transfusion scandal during the
After he was reappointed national cross-country skiing
coach, the 54-year-old's presence "in a private capacity" at the
Turin Olympics triggered raids by Italian police on Austrian
athletes' accommodations and a hasty escape across the border by
Ten Austrian athletes were tested for signs of doping but
were found to be clean.
Mayer crashed his car into a police road-block near the
Italian-Austrian border having left Turin on the day of the
"The IOC cannot and does not wage its fight against doping
on its own," the body said.
"We require the joint assistance of governmental and
judicial authorities around the world to combat such cheating
and we are pleased that the Austrian government has adopted
legislation that allows them to prosecute those who bend the
rules in flagrant violation of ethical standards and fair play."
Mayer was given a 15-month prison sentence on Thursday after
being found guilty of supplying doping substances to athletes.
Twelve months of the sentence were suspended for a period of
three years. Of the remaining three months, Mayer has already
served several weeks in custody following his arrest.
The former national coach, who had pleaded not guilty and
called the trial a "show", was freed pending an appeal.
Mayer, who occupied various posts in the Austrian Ski
Federation (OSV) between 1994 and 2006 including head coach of
the Nordic skiing team, was arrested in March 2009 and charged
with supplying doping to athletes between 2005 and 2009.
Since 2008, Austria has introduced several acts which make
the provision of doping substances a criminal offence.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)