Nick Backstrom is Gonna Get That Silver Medal After All


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.

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  • James Hare

    If I was Nicky I’d be even more pissed now. They make it clear in that finding that he did everything he could possibly do.

  • Brackaphobia

    “ii) there was no indication of any intent of the Athlete to improve his performance by taking a prohibited substance…”

  • Sara

    I’m really glad he’s going to get the metal, but it’s got to be bittersweet for him. The IOC is a bunch of a$$hats…..he should never have been disqualified in the first place and they know that. Screw them for robbing Nicky of potentially the biggest game in his career!

  • David Weichert

    Technically, wouldn’t allergy medication be performance enhancing due to the fact that it keeps your performance from being inhibited by said allergies?

  • Sarah

    Nicky’s sad puppy face is the saddest sad puppy face ever. This still makes me really angry but I’m glad he’s at least getting the medal he deserved to play for.

  • Technically, wouldn’t a granola bar do the same thing?

  • David Weichert

    That’s not medication, though.

  • Harjot Singh

    Zyrtec D is over the counter medication though.

  • Graham Dumas

    All the Backstrom ever wanted was his Silver Medal back.

  • David Weichert

    So? My point is not that I think Nicky did anything wrong, or anything like that. Just saying even if you use allergy meds as intended, it’s (mildly) performance enhancing.

  • Kyle

    Ironically, pseudoephedrine is a vasoconstrictor which actually makes it a performance deterant not a preformance enhanceor

  • brian!

    It really ties the room together.

  • Zachary Adomanis

    Not quite. The medication isn’t furthering his athletic peak. It is just allowing him the health to reach it not expand it.

    You aren’t allowed to doctor or change anything to a bobsleds configuration after it has run. You can however wipe it down, tighten bolts etc etc to get it back to the condition it was in. Zyrtec D is just the shammy cloth used by Nicky to get him back to his normal athletic state.

  • Alicia

    The big question is would Sweden have won the gold medal if Nicky was able to play that very important game? I am not usually a conspiracy person, but they did the test 4 days prior and yanked him only 2 hours before the game. The team did not have a lot of time to adjust their game plan.

  • capsyoungguns

    I think Sweden would have been far more competitive and would have made a better game out of it. But I don’t think they could have won unless they got lucky. But yeah pulling Backstrom like that shortly before the game threw the whole team in disarray.

  • capsyoungguns

    Well technically his allergies had put him below the norm for his performance levels. So all it did was raise him back to what it should be. If that’s your argument.

  • David Weichert

    I think my sarcasm has been lost on everyone including myself at this point.

  • Seth Winship

    Oh ya, I took Zyrtec D the other day and Oates decided to play me on the 1st line with Ovechkin cause my performance was so greatly enhanced. It’s amazing how well that stuff works. Is your comment even remotely serious?

  • Guest

    It’s called sarcasm, you dumb fuck.

  • yv

    In contrast to previous games that Q-final game was early 12pm game. Looks like doctor and Nicky didn’t take this into account.
    This year it would be a severe allergy season in this area according to forecasts. I see the ads about Claritin-D everywhere, wondering whether it is the same as Zyrtec-D. Kuzya should be prepared whether he will also need one. This area is very ‘special’ for newcomers in the spring.

  • Graham Dumas

    Agreed. The unholy juggernaut of Crosby would have done that thing it does, no matter what. Really hate that guy.

  • Seth Winship

    Aww that was rude. Removed his name. Must work for the IOC.

  • Stöt

    25. The IOC Disciplinary Commission finds that Dr. Bjorn Waldeback made a serious error by
    advising the Athlete that his use of Zyrtec-D would not give rise to an adverse analytical find-
    ing. In the event that Dr. Bjorn Waldeback applies for an accreditation to a future edition of the
    Olympic Games, the IOC Disciplinary Commission strongly recommends that the IOC should seriously consider Dr. Waldeback’s role in the Athlete’s anti-doping rule violation when as-
    sessing whether to grant such an accreditation.

  • Lawrence

    This is extremely off topic, but does anyone know who Ovechkin’s friend Gus is? I feel like I recognize him from somewhere, but I can’t put a finger on it and its been bugging me all day! haha

  • JenniferH

    Thank goodness! I’m glad he’s getting his medal and hopefully this shuts up most haters. Still sucks royal hiney that this happened at all!!!

  • We’ll eventually have a post on him. He’s a real interesting dude.

  • Lawrence

    Haha, okay sweet! Looking forward to it.

  • Jim

    At least Nicky is going to get the silver medal, which he clearly deserves since he helped get his team into the finals. The IOC should say “we made a mistake,” and apologize to Nicky. I’m not holding my breadth.