PtG Analysis 19.04.2021

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

ANALYSIS: 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.

Keywords: Athletes Doping

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


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'

Related articles

Zhang Yufe
PtG Article 05.07.2024
WADA and USADA are embroiled in a bitter fight over Chinese case that affects everyone in anti-doping
Athletes in starting position on running track
PtG Opinion 19.06.2024
Three principles should guide consultations with athletes about how to include transgender athletes
Tine Vertommen
PtG Opinion 27.05.2024
"We should aspire to create a world where safeguarding is not just a policy but a lived reality"
Sebastian Coe greets winner
PtG Article 14.05.2024
Money for medals divides the Olympic movement
Manchester City players celebrating goal
PtG Article 02.05.2024
Thousands of players are part of MCO groups without regulations that protect their interests
The Stepanovs at Play the Game conference in 2019
PtG Article 04.04.2024
Ten years of trouble for a whistleblower couple on the run from Russian retribution
Alex Krumer at Play the Game 2024
PtG Article 19.03.2024
Women's football teams should not play in white shorts if they want to win
Gerke Berenschot at Play the Game conference
PtG Article 22.02.2024
Male athletes could have twice the risk of dying from cardiac issues  compared to men of similar age
Faraz Shahlaei
PtG Article 20.02.2024
The Russian doping scandal has exposed the weaknesses in the international anti-doping structure
Joanna Maranhão and Andrea Florence
PtG Article 19.02.2024
Sports organisations are bad at handling sexual abuse, and athletes risk retaliation for speaking out
Panel on anti-doping
PtG Article 16.02.2024
CEO of USADA: "There is a lot we could do to ease the burden on the athletes"
Travis Tygart
PtG Article 07.02.2024
US anti-doping director: There is an incredible need for an anti-crime agency in sport
Speaker
PtG Article 07.02.2024
Sporting bodies called out for lack of action on Palestine and Afghan women
Matthew Graham and Gigi Alford
PtG Opinion 07.02.2024
The global sport industry is out of touch, this is how we put athletes back in the game
Martin Dubbey
PtG Article 06.02.2024
Could voice analytics be anti-doping’s new weapon?
Conference presentation
PtG Article 05.02.2024
Mali is a textbook example of how to fail victims of sexual abuse in sport
Panel on match-fixing
PtG Article 05.02.2024
Money spent on investigating match-fixing cases would be better spent on education
Joanna Maranhao
PtG Comment 04.02.2024
Healing through compassion – my journey of navigating trauma
Victoria Silverwood
PtG Article 02.02.2024
Meet the speakers: "Ice hockey fans expect to see fights at games, but the fights are well-controlled"
Burch and Geurin
PtG Article 29.01.2024
Meet the speakers: "We found that some athletes who experienced online abuse ten years ago had still not recovered"
Zohreh Abdollahkhani
PtG Article 26.01.2024
Meet the speakers: "International sports governing bodies should ask the Iranian federations why their athletes are imprisoned"
Athlete with AI
PtG Article 04.01.2024
Perspectives on democrAItisation of sports governance: Can artificial intelligence empower athletes?
Spanish women futsal players
PtG Article 28.08.2023
Pioneers share success stories about athlete influence at SAPIS conference
Tennis player
PtG Article 13.07.2023
Book 28 September and contribute to strengthening athlete power in sport
Runners
PtG Article 19.06.2023
SAPIS project launches good practice guide to strengthen athletes’ power in sport
Alex Schwacer walking
PtG Article 16.12.2022
Race walker Alex Schwazer continues his fight against sport's jurisprudence system
Mikhail Zaleuski at Play the Game 2022
PtG Article 22.07.2022
Solidarity in sport: Athletes should speak up for democracy and against climate change
Anders Solheim, CEO, Anti-Doping Norway
PtG Article 30.06.2022
Punishing athletes should not be the only approach to tackling anti-doping
Presenter
PtG Article 29.06.2022
External oversight key to athlete trust in abuse and violence investigations
Speaker
PtG Article 29.06.2022
Proposal for independent sports integrity body to be unveiled in September
Panel at conference
PtG Article 29.06.2022
Reports of abuse of athletes continue to emerge across the globe
Peter Donnelly
PtG Article 28.06.2022
Peter Donnelly: Children’s elite training meets the definition of child labour
Speaker
PtG Comment 27.06.2022
Sport must choose between democracy and autocracy
Speakers
PtG Article 27.06.2022
Play the Game 2022 opens with a call to remove Belarussian sports officials
Boy gymnast.
PtG Article 23.06.2022
The definition of child labour in sport is still developing
Photo: GettyImages/Matt Roberts.
PtG Article 10.06.2022
New book presents urgent call to listen to athletes in modern pentathlon
Kamilia Valieva
PtG Comment 22.02.2022
Child athletes are too valuable for the Olympic system to set age limits
PtG Article 28.09.2021
First output ready from project to strengthen athlete power in sport
Basketball woman Mali
PtG Article 20.09.2021
Human Rights Watch: FIBA president should go after sexual abuse case in Mali
PtG Article 30.06.2021
New report documents governance standards in anti-doping in 11 countries