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Thread: Alex Schwazer, Carolina Kostner's boyfriend, disqualified

  1. #61
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    This whole thing has been HUGE here over the media, Schwazer is very popular not only for winning gold in Beijing but also for his relationship with Carolina, of course. It was shocking mostly because most people had an image of him being a 'good boy', which was shattered a week ago after the doping affair was discovered.

    There was only one Italian website suggesting that Carolina was missing the GP because of this, probably searching for scandal but that was rectified almost immediately, by her agent (who is also Alex's agent as well) and Schwarzer himself during his press conference. They both said that she's missing the GP because she's decided to continue with competitive skating at the end of June and she's late with preparation, and that was the end of that.
    Alex also repeatedly said that she didn't know anything and that it was very hard for him to lie to her: he hid EPO in a box of vitamin b12 and kept it in the fridge, and waited until she'd gone to the ice rink before he injected it, or got up at night to do it. She never suspected a thing. Carolina now is in Oberstdorf training and will attend a press conference on August 20th that had been planned for Opera on Ice but will probably be full of questions about this matter. She's said that she was shocked and very angry when she found out, but that she loves him and will stay by his side. She was the first person to find out after Alex got the call from the Italian Olympic Committee, and Alex said crying that she'd told him that he didn't deserve that, and that a 10th place would have been fine.

    As I said there's been a lot of talk about the matter here but from what has emerged it's clear that he was/is suffering from depression and needs help, though there is no excuse for what he has done. His father actually blamed himself for not seeing it sooner and his mother said that he'd gone to her crying and saying that he couldn't take it anymore, that if he couldn't defend his title he would have thrown himself off somewhere. As was said in a previous post, he didn't like race walking, only did it because he was good at it, but he got bad results in the two years following the Olympics and wanted to retire, so much that he'd also left his long time coach: but at that time the Italian federation found him a new coach that was supposed to prepare him for London 2012 and somehow convinced him to continue. Doing something he didn't like, not being able to lead the normal life that he missed so much and the pressure of having to defend the gold medal got to him. He says that the gold in Beijing is clean and most people believe him, though the IOC is of course going to reanalyze his blood samples.

    I hope the press isn't going to put too much pressure on Carolina. I'm worried about her, and I'm not a fan so I can't imagine how her fans must feel right now. Schwazer's parents had wonderful words for her, saying that their son is lucky he's got such a wonderful girlfriend by his side.
    Last edited by Kalina; 08-12-2012 at 05:47 PM.

  2. #62
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    What a sad story. Like you, I'm worried about Carolina. Though not an intense Carolina fan, I'm fond of her and admire her skating--and even if I didn't, I'd feel bad for someone in her situation. Perhaps the fact that she's made the decision to stand by her guy will give her strength and allow her to feel in control of her circumstances. I know that her fans will let her know that they're behind her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalina View Post
    This whole thing has been HUGE here over the media, Schwazer is very popular not only for winning gold in Beijing but also for his relationship with Carolina, of course. It was shocking mostly because most people had an image of him being a 'good boy', which was shattered a week ago after the doping affair was discovered.

    ...

    As I said there's been a lot of talk about the matter here but from what has emerged it's clear that he was/is suffering from depression and needs help, though there is no excuse for what he has done. His father actually blamed himself for not seeing it sooner and his mother said that he'd gone to her crying and saying that he couldn't take it anymore, that if he couldn't defend his title he would have thrown himself off somewhere. As was said in a previous post, he didn't like race walking, only did it because he was good at it, but he got bad results in the two years following the Olympics and wanted to retire, so much that he'd also left his long time coach: but at that time the Italian federation found him a new coach that was supposed to prepare him for London 2012 and somehow convinced him to continue. Doing something he didn't like, not being able to lead the normal life that he missed so much and the pressure of having to defend the gold medal got to him. He says that the gold in Beijing is clean and most people believe him, though the IOC is of course going to reanalyze his blood samples.

    I hope the press isn't going to put too much pressure on Carolina. I'm worried about her, and I'm not a fan so I can't imagine how her fans must feel right now. Schwazer's parents had wonderful words for her, saying that their son is lucky he's got such a wonderful girlfriend by his side.
    Thanks for all this information. I feel bad for both of them; like you stated, it looks like Schwazer had some serious issues and dealt with them in a self-destructive way. It's easy to say "he should have asked for help", but sometimes people can't see the rational way out of a difficult situation. He is very lucky to have so much support, and I hope Carolina does, too, because this has to be very difficult for her.

    This assumes that the Beijing samples check out, otherwise the whole story kind of falls apart.

    I wonder if Carolina's success these last couple of years has increased the pressure on him, kind of one more thing for him to live up to. I'm sure he's very proud of her and what she's accomplished, but when you're not feeling confident or enjoying your sport, it might be harder to see someone who is and know what you're missing out on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    I wonder if Carolina's success these last couple of years has increased the pressure on him, kind of one more thing for him to live up to. I'm sure he's very proud of her and what she's accomplished, but when you're not feeling confident or enjoying your sport, it might be harder to see someone who is and know what you're missing out on.
    He did say, during his press conference, something like: "It's not easy being the boyfriend of..." but didn't go on. You're probably right.


    There's now an inquiry going on, the police wants to make sure that nobody was helping him. He seems to be pretty serene now, almost as if a weight had been taken off his shoulders. He was suspended by the Carabinieri (military police corp of Italy) but he now wants to find a normal job and lead a normal life.
    Talking about police, I remember someone being surprised in an early post that he was a member of the police and yet he'd done doping: the thing is that a good number of high-level athletes in Italy become a member of a police/military corp, so that they can have financial support and the time and the facilities to train. It's pretty common. Schwazer was a member of the sports group of Carabinieri, the rhythmic gymnasts are supported by the Air Force, all the ice skaters belong to the 'Fiamme Azzurre' (light blue flames) sports group belonging to the Penitentiary Police and so on. This doesn't apply to sports that have an high income (i.e soccer) or that are considered professional by law (Cycling, boxing and a few others). So it's not like athletes join out of a desire to serve the country.
    Last edited by Kalina; 08-13-2012 at 04:31 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalina View Post
    He did say, during his press conference, something like: "It's not easy being the boyfriend of..." but didn't go on. You're probably right.

    There's now an inquiry going on, the police wants to make sure that nobody was helping him. He seems to be pretty serene now, almost as if a weight had been taken off his shoulders. He was suspended by the Carabinieri (military police corp of Italy) but he now wants to find a normal job and lead a normal life.
    You mentioned that after Beijing he had two years of pretty bad results - that was the same time when Carolina was really struggling, so obviously they've had some real ups and downs with their careers, and a lot of that with them being in different countries (different continents, even, for a time). Assuming his story checks out, I think most people will ultimately be sympathetic and he'll be able to move on with his life. It's not like most doping cases with the athletes really fighting it and wanting to continue their careers.

    I knew about the police thing, I remember Faeilla (and Scali?) did that too, and Cappellini and Lanotte. I guess it's like the German skaters being in the army?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    You mentioned that after Beijing he had two years of pretty bad results - that was the same time when Carolina was really struggling, so obviously they've had some real ups and downs with their careers, and a lot of that with them being in different countries (different continents, even, for a time). Assuming his story checks out, I think most people will ultimately be sympathetic and he'll be able to move on with his life. It's not like most doping cases with the athletes really fighting it and wanting to continue their careers.

    I knew about the police thing, I remember Faeilla (and Scali?) did that too, and Cappellini and Lanotte. I guess it's like the German skaters being in the army?
    I think so too. He seems to be genuinely sorry about what he did and has been desperately trying to take all the blame upon himself so that this doesn't result in bad publicity for Carolina, his coach, his family: I think that really made an impression. It's also hard for us to forget about Marco Pantani, a successful cyclist that had been suspended because his hematocrit levels were too high (implying that he had used EPO): the media had been so harsh on him that he became depressed, started using cocaine and died because of intoxication five years later, at age 34. The head of Italian Athletics Federation too has been saying that even though the 'athlete' has to be condemned for what he did, the 'man' Schwazer needs to helped so that he can go back to a normal life. If there are no more shocking news I think he will, eventually, do that.

    I don't know about German athletes, but yeah, both Faiella and Scali were members of the penitentiary police (Faiella still is because she's decided to start working like a normal officer, but there are people who leave the corp after their competitive days are over, though I don't know the percentage), same for Cappellini and Lanotte and Carolina. Valentina Marchei isn't, but I don't know how she supports herself. Not everyone gets accepted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalina View Post
    Talking about police, I remember someone being surprised in an early post that he was a member of the police and yet he'd done doping: the thing is that a good number of high-level athletes in Italy become a member of a police/military corp, so that they can have financial support and the time and the facilities to train. It's pretty common. Schwazer was a member of the sports group of Carabinieri, the rhythmic gymnasts are supported by the Air Force, all the ice skaters belong to the 'Fiamme Azzurre' (light blue flames) sports group belonging to the Penitentiary Police and so on. This doesn't apply to sports that have an high income (i.e soccer) or that are considered professional by law (Cycling, boxing and a few others). So it's not like athletes join out of a desire to serve the country.
    Very interesting. In the old days in the Soviet Union, I think that a lot of athletes were officers in the Army. In those days, such a solution made it possible for fulltime athletes to be considered amateurs, which was important for the rules of the era. Nowadays that's not an issue so much, but military or police facilities are still a great venue for training so it makes perfect sense as a solution for many athletes. On the other side, it probably serves as good publicity for the Carabinieri, so everyone behefits. I wonder how many other countries have such an arrangement. I know that years ago, Christopher Dean worked for awhile as a police officer, but that was just an individual solution to making enough money to live. Then he and Torville got a subsidy from their city. I remember his thanking the "rate-payers" of Nottingham during the Olympic season.

    I hope you will keep us informed, if you hear, about the results of the 2008 blood sample test. I really want his story to be true. I want him to turn out to be a decent man who made a single mistake.
    Last edited by Olympia; 08-13-2012 at 07:23 AM.

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    Thank you for your posts, Kalina. Very interesting and sympathetic look.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Very interesting. In the old days in the Soviet Union, I think that a lot of athletes were officers in the Army. In those days, such a solution made it possible for fulltime athletes to be considered amateurs, which was important for the rules of the era. Nowadays that's not an issue so much, but military or police facilities are still a great venue for training so it makes perfect sense as a solution for many athletes. On the other side, it probably serves as good publicity for the Carabinieri, so everyone behefits. I wonder how many other countries have such an arrangement. I know that years ago, Christopher Dean worked for awhile as a police officer, but that was just an individual solution to making enough money to live. Then he and Torville got a subsidy from their city. I remember his thanking the "rate-payers" of Nottingham during the Olympic season.

    I hope you will keep us informed, if you hear, about the results of the 2008 blood sample test. I really want his story to be true. I want him to turn out to be a decent man who made a single mistake.
    I did some research More than facilities (though that plays a role as well) the issue is money. The military corps give a stable income to athletes, who can then train as much as they need without having to worry about finding a job, or paying taxes for retirement plans etc. And, like you said, good results translate as good publicity for the corps they represent. It's something that's always been done here and it's how the government supports athletes who otherwise wouldn't have the chance of training full-time. It doesn't apply to professional athletes (i.e. football, volleyball, basketball, rugby, tennis players who have other ways of obtaining an income). Of the 290 that represented Italy at the London Olympic Games, 194 are members of some kind of police or military corp. The total is around 590.
    For those who wish to be supported in this way, there's an examination two times a year: those who pass receive standard military/police training and a rank. When they stop competing they can decide if they want to leave the corp, but most stay and work as coaches in the sports group. If that's not possible (it usually isn't because there's too many ex-athletes) they will be assigned another job (like Faiella who's now a policewoman).

    I'll keep you posted Carolina's having a press conference next week, I'll be sure to post what she'll say and all the other news as well.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Very interesting. In the old days in the Soviet Union, I think that a lot of athletes were officers in the Army. In those days, such a solution made it possible for fulltime athletes to be considered amateurs, which was important for the rules of the era. Nowadays that's not an issue so much, but military or police facilities are still a great venue for training so it makes perfect sense as a solution for many athletes. On the other side, it probably serves as good publicity for the Carabinieri, so everyone behefits. I wonder how many other countries have such an arrangement. I know that years ago, Christopher Dean worked for awhile as a police officer, but that was just an individual solution to making enough money to live. Then he and Torville got a subsidy from their city. I remember his thanking the "rate-payers" of Nottingham during the Olympic season.

    I hope you will keep us informed, if you hear, about the results of the 2008 blood sample test. I really want his story to be true. I want him to turn out to be a decent man who made a single mistake.
    Skaters in the Soviet Union usually were not actually officers. Many of them were in the CSKA which meant Central Sports Army Club. Therefore, I believe they were considered part of the army but did not have to serve because their full-time job was sports.

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    Thanks to both of you, Kalina and DianaSelene, for your information on the sports structure of Italy and the old Soviet Union. Kalina, I think the Italian model sounds like an ideal way for a government to support athletes in a manner that benefits everyone and even leads up to a job after the athletic career is over.

    I guess our equivalent over here is that some companies hire athletes and work out an arrangement so they can take time off to compete. I can't remember which company, but in I think 2010, one of the big ones had an ad featuring their employees who were Olympians. Could it have been Walmart? Of course, this system isn't as all-encompassing as one involving a government agency or national service organization, as the Italian system is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    I guess our equivalent over here is that some companies hire athletes and work out an arrangement so they can take time off to compete. I can't remember which company, but in I think 2010, one of the big ones had an ad featuring their employees who were Olympians. Could it have been Walmart? Of course, this system isn't as all-encompassing as one involving a government agency or national service organization, as the Italian system is.
    It was Home Depot.

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    Carolina's press conference for Opera on Ice was held today. About Schwazer, she said:

    "I can't agree with what he did as a sportsman. I'm really angry, there's no doubt about it."
    Then "I've seen him suffer so many times in the past four years, but I admire him because he had the courage to get in front of all the journalists and tell his story. He will surely pay for his mistakes, but I hope he'll find his way and free himself from his demons. I hope he'll get back to being as serene as he was before. But it makes me sad that when he won gold in Beijing he was on the front pages for only one day, and now he's been there for an entire week."

    About Sochi:
    "Many things could change until 2014, but I want to be there. I'll begin late this year, I won't do the GPs. I decided this with my coach to prevent injuries and have a lighter season."
    She also said that during Opera on Ice, she and Lambiel will skate together on the aria "Je veux vivre" from the opera "Romeo and Juliet".

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    Kalina - thanks for the update - do you have a link? perhaps share the interview in the edge?

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    Gee, the Gounod? That's gorgeous music. I'll go look it up. Carolina and Lambiel: what a blissful combination!

    Thanks for the details, Kalina. I love the way Carolina stated things about Schwazer.

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