NEW YORK — Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals will receive a silver medal even though he was suspended for Sweden’s loss to Canada in the men’s hockey final at the Sochi Olympics because of a failed drug test.
Backstrom, Sweden’s top-line center, was forced to miss the Feb. 23 gold medal game after testing positive for pseudoephedrine, a substance that’s banned above a certain limit by the International Olympic Committee and World Anti-Doping Federation.
Backstrom tested over the limit because of an allergy medication he and team doctors said he’d been taking for several years. Team Sweden General Manager Tommy Boustedt said after his squad’s 3-0 loss that IOC officials had “destroyed one of the greatest hockey days in Swedish history.”
The IOC said Friday in a statement that its disciplinary committee found Backstrom’s suspension was “fully justified” because he’d tested above permitted levels. Yet the disciplinary committee also said Backstrom had been cooperative, disclosed the medication in question in the doping control form and had relied on specific advice of his team doctor that the intake of the medication wouldn’t “give rise to an adverse analytical finding.”
“There was also no indication of any intent of the athlete to improve his performance by taking a prohibited substance,” the IOC said in a statement.
Pseudoephedrine isn’t on the National Hockey League’s prohibited substances list.