The scourge of performance-enhancing allergy medicine be darned, the International Olympic Committee Disciplinary Commission has decided to award Nick Backstrom his silver medal (PDF).
As you recall, Backstrom was prohibited from playing in the gold-medal game two hours before puck drop due to the results of a urine test four days earlier. The test showed that Backstrom’s urine contained more pseudoephedrine than was acceptable. Sweden lost the gold medal game to Canada, and Backstrom’s medal status was in question until like just now.
Here’s to consolation prizes.
From the IOC’s decision:
15. At the hearing, the Athlete stated in summary that:
(i) he had nothing to hide and that he had been taking a medication against allergies, named Zyrtec-D since 6 or 7 February 2014, as he had allergy problems, with itchy eyes;
(ii) he had been taking one pill per day, usually when he arrived at the rink, either before training or before a match;
(iii) on 19 February 2014, the date of the test, he had taken a pill around two and a half hours before the match;
(iv) on Sunday 23 February 2014, on the date of the hearing, he had taken a pill in the morning;
(v) he had not been taking any nutritional supplements;
(vi) he had been taking this medication regularly for the past seven years, on the recommen- dation of a doctor, without this having given rise to an adverse analytical finding in the past;
(vii) he had already been tested three times recently;
(viii) he knew that the medication contained PSE, although he did not know the dosage. He had shown this medication to Dr Waldeback here in Sochi and had relied on the Doctor’s advice that the dosage would not trigger an Adverse Analytical Finding;
(ix) he had declared the medication on the Doping Control Form; and
(x) he was not aware of the recommendation of WADA regarding medication containing PSE, i.e. to stop taking such medication at least 24 hours before competition.
[. . . ]
23. The IOC Disciplinary Commission also finds that:
(i) the Athlete has been open and cooperative and, in particular, disclosed the medication Zyrtec-D on the doping control form;
(ii) there was no indication of any intent of the Athlete to improve his performance by taking a prohibited substance; and
(iii) the Athlete relied on the specific advice of Dr Waldeback that the intake of Zyrtec-D
would not give rise to an adverse analytical finding.
[ . . . ]
25. After careful examination, the IOC Disciplinary Commission finds that the Athlete should not be disqualified from, or rendered ineligible in respect of, the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. As a consequence, the Athlete is entitled to receive the silver medal and diploma awarded in re- spect of the men’s ice hockey event.