Photo Credit: glogster.com
Walter Mayer, 54, is a former cross-country ski coach from Austria. This week he was sent to jail for 15 months for providing athletes with performance-enhancing drugs.
Walter will not end up serving the whole 15-month term in jail as the court suspended a year of his sentence for three years. He’ll also receive credit for the few weeks he spent in custody after he was first arrested in March 2009 on the charges.
Walter once coached for the Austrian Ski Federation (OSV). He was charged with supplying human growth hormones to athletes, as well as erythropoietin, which is a blood booster that ups the red blood cell production in one’s body.
Apparently the supply of dope came between 2005 and 2009. Problems for Walter first arose in a blood transfusion scandal during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Walter didn’t get in any trouble that time, but is seemed the cat was out of the bag at that point. He was banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from either attending the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, or the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
The OSV still sent Walter to Italy in 2006, which is really what got him and Austria in trouble. The IOC saw this as a red flag, and raided the Austrian ski teams facilities. There the IOC found all they needed; performance-enhancing drugs, blood bags, syringes, etc. Walter then fled the area and actually crashed his car near the Italian border with Austria, into a police roadblock!
Austria has long been considered one of the most decorated and celebrated ski nations in the world, but this has left a stain on the country’s rich legacy. Three of Walter’s former athletes have been barred from the Olympics indefinitely. They are Wolfgang Perner (biathlete), Juergen Pinter, and Roland Diethart (both cross country skiers).