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Doping allegation in speed skating: acquittal for Robert Lehmann-Dolle


The three-time Olympian and former German champion Robert Lehmann-Dolle was accused of having doped with his own blood. But the proof could not be produced.

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Robert Lehmann-Dolle at the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014

Photo: Christian Charisius DPA

The German Sports Arbitration Court acquitted the former German speed skater Robert Lehmann-Dolle of the allegation of doping. There was a lack of clear evidence, the referees said. "First of all I lost a tear," said the 36-year-old after the decision. The past year and a half have been tough. "I felt very powerless, some hostility was very painful." 

The former Olympic participant was incriminated by the Erfurt doctor Mark Schmidt last spring. Schmidt is considered to be the alleged mastermind of a doping circle that was exposed in early 2019 as part of "Operation Aderlass". He is charged with having doped around two dozen athletes from eight nations, including with autologous blood.

Lehmann-Dolle had nothing to fear under criminal law

Even Lehmann-Dolle, Schmidt stated in an interrogation after his arrest, had participated in a season, possibly also in the winter before the Olympic Games in Sochi. The National Anti-Doping Agency Germany (Nada) then filed a complaint. Lehmann-Dolle had nothing more to fear under criminal law, because the legal situation at the supposed time of the crime did not allow this. In terms of sports law, however, he had to answer.

In March, his case was heard before the German Sports Arbitration Court. In the 45-page "final verdict" of August 13th, which is available to SPIEGEL, the three judges come to the conclusion: There is no evidence that the former speed skater manipulated - no positive blood or urine test, no blood bag and anything no confession. Lehmann-Dolle had denied having doped. In addition, the judges rated Schmidt's statements on Lehmann-Dolle as "imprecise and even contradicting".

The burden of proof in the proceedings lay with Nada. But it was "unable to raise the existing strong suspicion of the arbitral tribunal sufficiently so that the defendant has committed the doping violation with the necessary predominant probability," the award now says.

The question remains: why should Schmidt have untruthfully incriminated the former top German athlete? The referees believe it is possible that he wanted to gain an advantage "because he was in an extreme pressure situation due to the ongoing pre-trial detention and the risk of personal economic ruin and felt motivated to name German athletes in return for earlier to be released from custody. "

Schmidt is still in custody

Lehmann-Dolle, born in Erfurt, competed three times for Germany at the Olympics, in 2006, 2010 and 2014. After a 27th place in Sotchi, he ended his career and began a career as a junior coach. After the allegations against him had become public, the Olympic base in Berlin terminated him without notice. The Olympic base had announced that it represented "a consistent position in the fight against doping" and that it had coordinated its approach "with the German Olympic Sports Confederation and the German Speed ​​Skating Society".

Lehmann-Dolle is taking legal action against his dismissal. 

Schmidt is meanwhile still in custody. The trial against him and four other suspects is due to begin in mid-September. 

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Source: spiegel

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