If You're An Olympian Busted For Doping, This Is What To Do



It has become an Olympic tradition for an athlete or two or three to test positive for banned substances during or after the Games. Also traditional are the subsequent heartfelt denials, stone-faced defiance and/or mysterious disappearance of said suspected performance-enhanced athlete.

This year, however, we have a new response: The Weeping Confession.

Italy’s Alex Schwazer, the 2008 Olympic race walk gold medalist who was booted from the London Games on Monday after testing positive for blood bosster EPO, first agreed to a face-to-face interview on Italian national television RAI Uno.

He gets particularly choked up when referring to his girlfriend – Italian figure skating champion Carolina Kostner – to whom he lied about a mysterious box of “vitamins” he was keeping in their refrigerator.

Later, he held a press conference in the northern Italian city of Bolzano, where there was more shame – and more tears.

Still, some doubts remain about how complete the confession really was. Schwazer said he bought the banned substances on his own, traveling alone to Turkey after researching it on the Internet. He also says he never had used banned substances before last month, and was clean when he blew away the field in Beijing in the 50-kilometer walk in Olympic-record time.

In any case, on the human side, Schwazer said between sobs that he was quitting sports and hoping to “begin a normal life.”

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Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.


Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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