Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has withdrawn his appeal against the International Olympic Committee’s ruling that he violated World Anti-Doping Agency law and agreed upon a reprimand, “the minimum application sanction permitted by the WADA code,” according to a joint announcement between Backstrom, WADA and the IOC.
The saga began on March 14, 2014, when the 27-year-old Swede was judged to have committed an anti-doping rule violating, based on elevated levels of pseudoephedrine, an ingredient found in his allergy medication not banned by the NHL. Backstrom was barred from playing in the gold medal game, but later was awarded his silver medal in a ceremony in Sweden on Aug. 28.
“After constructive discussions between Mr Backstrom’s representatives and those of the IOC, WADA and the IIHF,” the announcement said, the final decision was reached for Backstrom to remove his appeal and for WADA to issue a reprimand. According to the announcement, “at no time was Mr Backstrom’s receipt of his Olympic silver medal at issue in the proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.”
When word broke in November that WADA had appealed the IOC’s decision to exonerate Backstrom, he declined comment following a Capitals game at Verizon Center. However, he received the full support of Coach Barry Trotz, his teammates and even NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
“Certainly we support Nick in this circumstance,” Daly said in early December. “I think there were unfair circumstances surrounding the determination, and unfortunately it’s still in litigation. I’m hopeful — can’t say I have any real reason to believe — but I’m hopeful it gets resolved in a way that’s beneficial to Nick, because certainly he deserves his silver medal.”
Backstrom filed his appeal on April 2, 2014, “challenging that an anti-doping rule violation had occurred.” WADA later filed its appeal on Oct. 9, 2014, trying to counter the IIHF Disciplinary Commitee’s ruling that Backstrom “had not violated the WADA code.”
The announcement emphasized, at the end, its findings that Backstrom did not intend “to enhance his sport performance by taking a prohibited substance, that the prohibited substance (PSE) was contained within a product Mr Backstrom was taking for medical reasons, that Mr Backstrom relied on the specific advice of his team doctor that his use of the product would not give rise to a positive sample, and that he openly disclosed the product on the doping control form at the time of the doping control.”