Schwazer vs. Sport: A race walker’s long and winding route towards doping rehabilitation

Alex Schwazer celebrates after winning the 50 km Race Walk at IAAF Race Walking Team Championship Rome 2016. Photo: Tullio M Puglia/Getty Images

An in-depth investigation by Andy Brown from Sports Integrity Initiative reveals the details about race walker and former Olympic Champion Alex Schwazer’s complex struggle with the antidoping system that has culminated with an Italian judge demanding an investigation of WADA and the IAAF.

In February 2021, an Italian judge at the court in Bolzano dismissed criminal doping charges against the race walker and former Olympic Champion Alex Schwazer. Instead, in a surprise move, the judge asked the public prosecutor to investigate the actions of WADA and the IAAF.

But Schwazer’s ordeal is not over yet. World sport upholds the ban against him. WADA, World Athletics, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport blame him for failing a doping test for the second time in his career and say he must endure an eight-year ban expiring in 2024.

On his side, Schwazer suspects that the failed doping test is the result of a conspiracy aiming at taking down not only himself, but also his trainer since 2015, Alessandro Donati, one of the world’s most renowned anti-doping fighters. Both have made powerful enemies in Italy and far beyond.

Play the Game has asked Andy Brown from the Sports Integrity Initiative to unwind the five-year long saga. Over six chapters, he takes you through all the little details that has made Schwazer’s case one of the most complex stories in modern sport.

It all starts on a New Year’s morning in 2016 when somebody unexpectedly knocks on the race walker’s door in a small rural community in Northern Italy….

Read the full analysis


Download the full analysis by Andy Brown

The analysis is divided into the following chapters:

Chapter 1: Can a leopard change its spots?
Chapter 2: This Kraut needs to drop dead
Chapter 3: La Marcia: A stench of fixing
Chapter 4: A transportation with gaps and flaws
Chapter 5: “A complex of logical tricks and false data”
Chapter 6: The athlete vs. the system: An uneven playing field

Read also the article 'Italians rally to support an athlete acquitted in court and sanctioned by sport'

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