Former Olympic race walking champion Alex Schwazer is facing another doping case, the Italian track and field federation said Wednesday.
The Gazzetta dello Sport reported Wednesday that Schwazer and the Italian federation (FIDAL) were informed a day earlier that a May 12 retest of a Jan. 1 doping control sample showed positive traces of steroids.
The retest was conducted after Schwazer qualified for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
FIDAL confirmed to The Associated Press that the Gazzetta report was accurate, adding that it would likely comment further later Wednesday.
”At the moment I’m shocked,” FIDAL president Alfio Giomi said. ”We’re attempting to understand it.”
Schwazer’s lawyer, Gerhard Brandstaetter, said the newspaper report was ”false and unbelievable,” and threatened legal action.
Schwazer and his lawyer were expected to hold a news conference later Wednesday.
Schwazer, who was banned for three years and nine months after testing positive for EPO before the 2012 Olympics, returned to competition and won the 50-kilometer event at the world championships in Rome in May.
He also won the 50K at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Back in 2012, Schwazer held a news conference in Italy after it was revealed he had tested positive and broke down in tears while recounting how he hid the banned substance in the home he was sharing with star figure skater Carolina Kostner.
Schwazer said he had flown alone to Turkey the previous September with 1,500 euros (now $1,700) to buy the blood booster at a pharmacy. He said he disguised it in a box of vitamins in a refrigerator at Kostner’s home in Germany, where he was staying in July in the buildup to the 2012 Games.
Schwazer said he learned how to use EPO through the Internet and injected it daily in a bathroom to prevent Kostner and his parents from knowing what he was doing.
However, Kostner was banned for 16 months by the Italian Olympic committee for helping Schwazer evade a test and other infractions.
The 31-year-old Schwazer, who was also handed an eight-month suspended prison sentence by a court in Bolzano in December 2014, had said he was quitting the sport but later changed his mind.
His return was controversial, with some Italian athletes saying he should not have been given a chance to qualify for Rio.