Winter Olympics / Lillehammer '94: Bob driver expelled for failing drug test: Austrian retires after using steroid to aid his recovery from injury

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE expulsion of the Austrian bobsleigh driver, Gerhard Rainer, from the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer yesterday for failing a routine pre-Games doping test was greeted with shock and outrage by competitors and officials.

Calls for a life ban on Rainer, a policeman from Innsbruck who says his hobby is 'being lazy', were rendered redundant by his announcement that he was retiring. The man believed to be the first identified drug abuser at the top level of the sport departed with an apology to his team-mates and the sport, and the comment: 'Bobsleigh has not made me happy.'

He has not made the sport happy either. Sent home from Norway on Saturday, the day his test result came through, the two-man bob driver had taken the banned anabolic steroid methandianone, which builds muscle bulk, to help with his recovery from an Achilles tendon injury. 'This is his explanation but it is, of course, by no means an excuse for what he did,' the team's sports director, Roland Jokl, said.

The Austrian bob federation's president, Fritz Dinkhauser, was stronger in his condemnation. 'I'm outraged. Such sportsmen have no place in bob sport,' he said.

His partner in the two-man, Thomas Schroll, was more forgiving, but said: 'I came here to win. Now my reputation and the reputation of the bob team have been harmed.' When the two-man competition begins on Saturday, Markus Einberger will be in the driving seat.

The International Olympic Committee spokeswoman, Michele Verdier, said the case was a matter for the Austrians. 'He was not caught in an IOC control. This means there has been no doping case at the Lillehammer Games.'

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean arrived at the Lillehammer Olympic skating village last night. The British ice dancers have been allocated typically spartan accommodation. 'They have rooms in a secondary school with a desk, a single bed and a single wardrobe - a bit like a youth hostel,' Caroline Searle, the British team spokeswoman, said.

American dream, page 39