Austrian anger over drugs raid on night before ski relay

The most predictable result of the 2006 Winter Olympics duly occurred here yesterday when Austria came last in the 4x10km cross-country skiing relay after an overnight armed police raid of the team's rooms on suspicion of drug use.

Any sympathy for the team is likely to be suspended until the results of tests taken on 10 skiers ­ six from cross-country, four from biathlon ­ are made known today or tomorrow.

A spokesman for the Italian police claimed that the athletes had thrown some used medical equipment out of the window. "We found used and non-used medical equipment, syringes," he said. Police said in a statement that the equipment found in the raid was being sent for examination.

The Austrians, however, were furious at the behaviour of the police. Their press officer, Erich Wagner, said: "Six guys were in their room with guns. They spread their legs, put their hands behind their necks and searched their bodies, their bags, everything. As far as I know this has never happened at an Olympic Winter Games."

The Austrians' third skier, Roland Diethart, was lapped by the leader and, under the rules, the team had to drop out, meaning that their fourth runner, Johannes Eder, did not start.

Officials from the International Olympic Committee had taken action in conjunction with police after reports that the banned Austrian biathlon coach, Walter Mayer, had visited the team.

Last night Austrian officials confirmed that Mayer had been sacked from his post after he crashed into a police barrier and was detained on his way back from Italy. According to reports, police in the southern Austrian village of Paternion approached Mayer's car after residents reported it parked on a roadside and found him asleep in his vehicle. Mayer sped off and crashed into two police cars blocking the road after refusing to undergo an alcohol breath test.

Mayer, who is allowed no involvement in the Olympics until beyond 2010 because of his role in a blood doping scandal at the Salt Lake Winter Games of 2002, has been put under formal investigation by Italian magistrates, but his arrest was not connected to that ongoing inquiry.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there