One of the most controversial and mysterious events in the history of sports doping. Accusations of test manipulation, highly abnormal DNA values, and Schwazer’s unwavering will to prove his innocence and return to racing.
Alex Schwazer, the rise and fall of a champion
Alex Schwazer was involved in many sports when he was 15 years old. Middle distance in athletics, mountain biking, cycling. He was successful in everything but he was successful in none of them and so he didn’t know how to choose. Then, one day in early 2000, the boy, born in 1984 in Vipiteno, Bolzano province, decided with the help of his coaches: walking was discipline This was a match where Alex could reveal the maximum of his talent.
A few years passed, and in 2005 Schwazer began competing professionally, immediately winning the Italian national championships and then the bronze medal at the world championships in Helsinki the same year. South Tyrol boy breaks record after record In 2008, he realized every professional athlete’s dream: he won the 50 kilometer race at the Beijing Olympics and set a new record for the distance with a time of 3 hours 37 minutes and 9 seconds.
Schwazer undergoes a tremendous wave of popularity, becomes the young and clean face of Italian sport, serious and winning, shy and determined boy, enters the hearts of the whole nation and enters the competition of big brands that want him. as the face of their products. Meanwhile, Alex continues running. He finished second at the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona. In the 20 kilometer race, but only for a few months. The winner, Russian Stanislav Emel’janov, will be disqualified due to doping and Schwazer will achieve another success, albeit late.
The career of the Vipiteno runner comes to a first, very sudden halt, right in the middle of this difficult human and competitive trend. On July 30, 2012, a few days before the start of the London Olympics,World Anti-Doping Agency carries out surprise control and the following August 6, analysis reported that Schwazer was positive for EPO. The boy is devastated, takes full responsibility, apologizes and is disqualified for 3 years and 9 months.
Along with him, his girlfriend at the time, world figure skating champion Carolina Kostner, is also dragged into the abyss and separated for 1 year and 4 months due to the relationship for which she will be disqualified and accused of complicity. stranded. Even Ferrero, which made Schwazer its sports ambassador, decided to terminate the contract: Alex was left alone.
But his story is one of perseverance, strength and stubbornness. Schwazer does not give up and trains with Sandro Donati, the symbol of the fight against doping in athletics, and expects to return to competitions: The goal is to participate in the Rio Olympics In his first race after his return, he won the 50 km at the World Championships in Rome with a time of 3 hours 39 minutes. It looks like Schwazer will be able to participate in the Rio Olympics, four years after his disqualification. But his story unfortunately new change reserved.
Schwazer’s second positive test and legal battle
About a month after his return, on June 26, 2016, it was announced that Alex Schwazer had tested positive a few months earlier in January of the same year. The banned substance is testosterone, an anabolic steroid. Immediately many inconsistencies emergeMany oddities connected with the second positivity of the boy from Bolzano. But disqualification inevitably comes: eight years, return is possible only on July 7, 2024.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejects the appeal, Alex does not apologize this time, stating that he tested negative in January and was assessed positive again just five months later, a few weeks after his victory in Rome. Donati defends himMany in the athletics world perceive something strange, but the essence remains: Schwazer was disqualified.
In February 2021, the Bolzano court declared it “highly likely” that Schwazer’s tests were manipulated in order to obtain a positive test result and acquitted Schwazer on the grounds of “inaction”. The World Anti-Doping Agency rejects the findings of the Italian justice system and returns the charges to the sender. The case will be definitively closed in April 2022When WADA confirms its position on the case after further investigation, it declares that there was no manipulation of the samples.
But there may be a new chapter to the story. Schwazer, to whom Netflix dedicated its 4-episode mini series published last April. wants to try to come backonce again and to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris next August.
This is truly an impossible challenge, considering the disqualification expires on July 7 and qualifying times for the Games are also up. Must be completed by June 30 and at any rate, at present, the 20-kilometer discipline, where Schwazer (who is today in the Big Brother house) continues to train, counts Tokyo Olympic champion Stano and Francesco Fortunato among its leading athletes. The one who won the European Team Championship last May.
Reach 1 hour 20 minutes 10 seconds and win appeal to end disqualification It certainly won’t be easy as he has one bear left, but after many battles Schwazer has no intention of stopping now, he is constantly on a quest for salvation.