German Olympic Committee wants Pechstein doping case reopened
FRANKFURT, Germany — The German Olympic Committee is seeking to reopen the doping case of five-time Olympic speedskating champion Claudia Pechstein, saying she was wrongly banned.
A commission appointed by the Olympic committee has concluded that medical evidence on Pechstein’s blood results does not prove doping.
"All experts have come to the conclusion that the blood values of Claudia Pechstein cannot be taken as proof of doping," said Wolfgang Jelkmann, director of the physiology Institute at the University of Luebeck.
Pechstein was banned for two years in 2009 because of irregular blood results although she never failed a drug test. The skater has always denied doping accusations and insists her blood values are due to a genetic condition.
"I always knew I was the victim and not the offender … Now I know it worth it to fight on," Pechstein said.
The German Olympic committee urged the International Skating Union to reopen the case.
"The commission studied all medical expertise and arrived at a clear result. There are many question marks in the case of Pechstein. We appeal to ISU to consider reopening the case," Olympic committee president Alfons Hoermann said.
A Munich court ruled recently that the 42-year-old Pechstein can proceed with a lawsuit for compensation from the ISU. With a total of nine Olympic medals, Pechstein is Germany’s most decorated Winter Olympian.
The Munich state court ruled against the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which had supported a two-year ban imposed on Pechstein in 2009 despite her denials of doping.
The Munich ruling potentially opens the door for other athletes to go to a civil court rather than accept CAS decisions.