Published March 17, 2010
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Polish Olympic Committee says a second test confirms that Polish cross-country skier Kornelia Marek tested positive for EPO at the Vancouver Winter Games.
It was the first serious doping case at the games.
Committee spokesman Henryk Urbas told The Associated Press that the backup test confirmed findings from the first sample taken after Marek helped Poland to a sixth-place finish in the women's 20K relay on Feb. 25.
The head of Poland's Olympic Committee, Piotr Nurowski, said Marek told him this week that she had been receiving intramuscular and intravenous injections but did not know they contained prohibited substances.
Nurowski said he believes Marek was not aware she was taking EPO, a synthetic hormone which enhances endurance by boosting the production of oxygen-rich blood cells in the body.
Poland's Ski Association has suspended Marek from the national team and opened an investigation into who gave Marek the prohibited substance and how it came into the possession of Poland's team in Vancouver.
"We expect that the guilty person will be caught and eliminated from sport because that person destroyed the girl's career and even life," Urbas said.
The International Olympic Committee has opened an investigation into Marek's case.
If found guilty of doping, she will be disqualified retroactively from the games and stripped of her results. She also faces a two-year suspension from the sport and a ban from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Apart from the relay, Marek also was a member of the Polish team that finished ninth in the team sprint. She placed 11th in the 30K mass start, 39th in the 10K freestyle and 35th in the 15K pursuit.
The relay team — which included 30K gold medalist and World Cup leader Justyna Kowalczyk — is also expected to be disqualified and stripped of the Vancouver results.
There were only two other doping cases in Vancouver, both involving hockey players who received reprimands after testing positive for stimulants in cold medications.