March 14 (Reuters) - Swedish ice hockey player Nicklas Backstrom will receive an Olympic silver medal despite being forced to miss last month’s final in Sochi due to a doping offence, the International Olympic Committee said on Friday.
Although the IOC did not confirm at the time that Backstrom had failed a drugs test, Swedish officials pulled him out of the final after being told that he had been shown to be carrying a high level of the stimulant pseudoephedrine (PSE).
The IOC was criticised for its handling of the case and Sweden lost the final 3-0 to Canada.
Backstrom, one of Sweden’s top players, said he had taken the same medication for years to help treat nasal and sinus congestion while team officials felt his absence affected their chances at winning the gold medal.
An IOC Disciplinary Commission found that the 26-year-old Backstrom’s provisional suspension was justified due to the presence of excess PSE.
It decided, however, that Backstrom could receive his medal because he had been co-operative, had taken the medication following advice from the team doctor and had not intended to improve his performance.
“Based upon these mitigating circumstances, the IOC DC considered that the athlete should be entitled to receive the silver medal and diploma awarded for men’s ice hockey,” the IOC said in a statement. (Reporting by Ed Osmond; Editing by Frank Pingue)