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Added September 2nd, 2014 by Ian
NHL

Swedish NHL player finally awarded Olympic medal after six-month wait

After a long six-month wait Swedish center Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals has finally been awarded with a silver medal from last winter’s Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Backstrom didn’t actually play in the gold-medal contest as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended him for one game for failing a drug test. It was revealed that Backstrom’s level of pseudoephedrine was elevated when he took the test. According to the player, he had been taking an allergy medication daily for the past seven years.

Sweden was beaten 3-0 by Canada in the Final and the IOC refused to give Backstrom a medal due to the doping investigation. A few weeks after the Games, the IOC said it handed Backstrom just a one-game suspension because it felt he didn’t take the medicine to gain a competitive advantage and they’d give him a silver medal after all.

That was back in March and Backstrom must have wondered if the IOC changed its mind without telling him. But all’s well that ends well as he was finally awarded with the medal on August 28 during a ceremony in his homeland. After failing his drug test, Backstrom wasn’t immediately informed of his suspension and was dressed for the warm up to play against Canada. He was then pulled out of the squad when the IOC said he had failed his test.

At the time, Swedish general manager Tommy Boustedt claimed the IOC had destroyed one of the greatest moments in the country’s hockey history by refusing to allow Backstrom to play. Bjorn Waldeback, the team’s doctor, said Backstrom had taken a drug called Zyrtec-D and one of its contents is pseudoephedrine. Olympic athletes are allowed to have 150 micrograms of the drug per milliliter, but the test showed that Backstrom’s level was 190.

Backstrom said he wasn’t trying to hide anything and admitted that he had taken one pill every day for seven years. He added that he played several international games over that time and he never had a problem with any previous drug tests. Since there wasn’t any time to administer another test, the IOC believed the best solution was to pull him from the game two hours before the faceoff. Backstrom’s absence hit the Swedish team hard since centers Henrik Zetterberg and Henrik Sedin were already missing from the lineup.

 
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