Ice hockey officials slam IOC over Backstrom doping test

Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:44pm EST
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By Julian Linden

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Ice hockey officials slammed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Sunday after Swedish forward Nicklas Backstrom was forced to sit out the Sochi Winter Games gold medal clash against Canada for a doping offence.

One top Swedish official accused the IOC of putting politics ahead of sport and jeopardizing the future participation of National Hockey League players at the Olympics.

Sweden lost the final to defending champions Canada 3-0.

"They (the IOC) have given amateurism a face and it's sad that it will affect Nicklas and the hockey organization," Swedish team manager Tommy Boustedt told a news conference.

"The timing with this was awful and my suspicion is that this is political. They got the decision two days ago. They waited until it would make a really good impact on you journalists."

Although the IOC has not confirmed that Backstrom failed a test, Swedish team officials pulled him from the game after being told that a test showed an elevated level of the stimulant pseudoephedrine.

Backstrom said the adverse finding had come from an over-the-counter medication he uses to treat a sinus condition.

He said he had been using the medication for years without any problems and told the drug testers he was taking it when they asked him for a sample after his team's quarter-final win over Slovenia on Wednesday.   Continued...

Sweden men's ice hockey player Nicklas Backstrom skates during a team practice at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 22, 2014, ahead of their gold medal game against Canada on February 23. REUTERS/Brian Snyder