Now, Schwazer injects doses of penitence!

Now, Schwazer injects doses of penitence!

Olympic 50km race walk champion Alex Schwazer, who was excluded from the London Games for doping, said on Wednesday it was a relief to be caught for taking blood-booster EPO because of the guilt he felt after hiding it even from his girlfriend.

The Italian's positive test was revealed two days ago when the 27-year-old, who now believes his career is over, was provisionally banned by his national Olympic Committee.

"When you wait for your girlfriend to go to train so that you can lock yourself in the bathroom and inject EPO in your veins so that no one will know, it's not nice," Schwazer, weeping openly, said in an hour-long news conference.

By injecting Erythropoietin (EPO), athletes aim to increase the concentration of red blood cells and consequently their aerobic capacity and athletic performance.

Flanked by his lawyer and his manager, and with his father in the audience, Schwazer referred to his girlfriend — world champion figure skater Carolina Kostner — repeatedly, saying he regretted lying to her.

Schwazer suggested he actually wanted to get caught because the guilt was psychologically devastating. He said he could have tried to skip the July 30 doping test knowing he had made a final injection a day earlier, but did not.

"I'm not made to take drugs or to deceive people, and I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't wait for the whole thing to end," he said. "When on the 30th (of July) the doorbell rang I knew it was the anti-doping people, I knew it was all over. It would have been enough to tell my mum not to open the door or to tell them I wasn't home. But I couldn't take it anymore."

Even if he had not tested positive, he said he would not have gone to London for the 50 km race, which is scheduled for Saturday. Schwazer now hopes to lead "a normal life" away from athletics where he sees his girlfriend every night "instead of just twice a month".

Schwazer, who set an Italian record in the 20km in March, had been one of Italy's big medal hopes in a sport where athletes move as fast as they can while keeping one foot in contact with the ground at all times.

He raised eyebrows when last month he suddenly pulled out of the 20km race, saying he had had a bout of flu. His story clashed starkly with the athlete's clean-cut image that is highlighted in a ubiquitous Italian advertisement for Kinder chocolate bars set in the idyllic Alps where he lives.

After studying how to take and buy the drug on the Internet, he said he flew to Turkey in September 2011 for three days, exchanged 1500 euros for Turkish lira, went to a pharmacy and bought EPO over the counter.

He kept the drug in his refrigerator and told Kostner that they were vitamins.
He said he took the EPO only in the month leading up to the Games, that he had acted alone, and denied that he had taken performance enhancing drugs before the Beijing Games. He challenged the Olympic authorities to re-examine his blood from four years ago.

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