POSTED: August 19th 2011

Disgraced ski coach Walter Mayer still believes he is the victim of a plot

The IOC has a zero tolerance doping policy / SFC images
The IOC has a zero tolerance doping policy / SFC images

NIKKI WICKS / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: Former Austrian nordic skiing and biathlon coach Walter Mayer has reignited his row with the IOC after being handed a jail sentence for supplying illegal substances to athletes.

Mayer was found guilty on Wednesday of supplying top Austrian athletes with banned substances between 2005 and 2009.

The 54-year-old, who had pleaded not guilty to the charges, was sentenced to 15 months in jail, with 12 months suspended for a period of three years. His lawyers immediately appealed the sentence.

According to reports, Mayer told a press conference yesterday that he had been a victim of a “conspiracy”.

He said: “My suspicion that there is a conspiracy has grown.” Adding: “I didn't think something like this was possible. But I made the mistake of getting in a fight with the IOC empire.”

Mayer had previously filed legal action against IOC president Jacques Rogge and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chief Dick Pound for defamation following controversy at the Turin Winter Games in 2006.

The former coach was banned from the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Games after being implicated in a blood transfusion scandal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. However his attendance at the Turin Games in 2006 triggered suspicion amongst authorities which led to a number of police raids on the Austria's cross-country and biathlete teams.

Mayer was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the Austrian ski federation and filed the lawsuit against Rogge and Pound for damage to his reputation. He later withdrew the lawsuit in 2007.

Commenting on the conviction, the IOC told Reuters that it “welcomed” the decision.

The IOC added: "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."

In July this year, WADA published the fourth update of its strategy to tackle doping in sport, set to cover the period 2011 to 2016.

Keywords · Walter Mayer · IOC · Turin 2006 · doping

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