Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced a decision in the case of Swedish ice hockey player Nicklas Backstrom who participated in the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Backstrom, 26, tested positive on 19 February for the presence of pseudoephedrine (PSE) in excess of the applicable decision limit of 170 µg/mL. He was provisionally suspended from competing in the final of the men’s ice hockey competition between Sweden and Canada.
The IOC Disciplinary Commission (DC), composed of Anita L. DeFrantz (Chairperson), Nawal El Moutawakel and Claudia Bokel, found that the provisional suspension was fully justified, not only due to the presence in excess of the applicable decision limit of PSE in his urine sample, but also due to the fact that the athlete conceded at the hearing, which took place shortly before the final match, that he had also taken medication containing PSE earlier that day.
The IOC DC took into account in particular that the athlete had been cooperative, had disclosed the medication in question in the doping control form and had relied on the specific advice of his team doctor that the intake of the medication would not give rise to an adverse analytical finding. There was also no indication of any intent of the athlete to improve his performance by taking a prohibited substance. Based upon these mitigating circumstances, the IOC DC considered that the athlete should be entitled to receive the silver medal and diploma awarded for men’s ice hockey.
Under the IOC Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, testing took place under the IOC's auspices from 30 January (the date of the opening of the Olympic Villages) to 23 February 2014 (the date of the Closing Ceremony).
Within that period, the IOC systematically performed tests before and after events and oversaw the most stringent anti-doping programme in Olympic Winter Games history. In total, 2,667 tests were conducted, surpassing the previous record set at Vancouver 2010 by 518 tests. Of the 2,667 tests, 477 were blood tests and 2,190 were urine tests. The full decision is available here.