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German biathlete, Italian bobsledder test positive

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm •  Published: February 21, 2014

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — A top German biathlete and an Italian bobsledder were kicked out of the Sochi Olympics on Friday in the first doping cases of the Winter Games.

Former two-time Olympic gold medalist Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine in both her "A'' and "B'' samples, the German Olympic Committee said.

The committee said she has been removed from the team and was being sent home.

Sachenbacher-Stehle — winner of two golds and three silvers in cross-country skiing at previous games — blamed the positive test on a nutritional supplement and said she had never knowingly taken performance-enhancing drugs.

"I am going through the worst nightmare that you can imagine, because I am unable to explain at all how there could be a positive test," she said in a statement.

The Italian Olympic Committee, meanwhile, announced that bobsledder William Frullani was ejected from the games after testing positive for the banned stimulant dimetylpentylamine in the athletes village on Tuesday.

Frullani, who had not competed yet, asked for a backup test that "confirmed the positive result, resulting in his exclusion from the Italian delegation," CONI said.

The IOC later confirmed Sachenbacher-Stehle's positive test and ejection from the games.

Sachenbacher-Stehle, who switched from cross-country to biathlon two years ago, competed in five events in Sochi but did not win any medals. Her best results were two fourth-place finishes, in the 12.5K mass start and the mixed relay.

The IOC said in a statement that she was disqualified from the mass start and her entire team had its fourth-place finish in the mixed relay canceled out.

The 33-year-old German was tested after Monday's mass start race. Her backup sample was tested on Friday and confirmed the original finding. Her expulsion from the games was announced after she appeared before an IOC disciplinary commission on Friday afternoon.

Sachenbacher-Stehle had been left off Germany's top-ranked women's relay team before Friday night's 4x6-kilometer relay. The team finished 11th.

Franziska Hildebrand, who skied the third leg for Germany, said the team was told about the doping case earlier in the day.

"We are totally shocked," Hildebrand said.

Methylhexanamine is classified on the World Anti-Agency's prohibited list as a "specified stimulant," a group of substances that are more susceptible to inadvertent use and can carry reduced penalties.

Sachenbacher-Stehle said she had her nutritional supplements checked in a lab or cleared by the manufacturer before the games.

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