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Swedish coach ‘furious’ about Backstrom ban, claims IOC ‘made things up’

Feb 23, 2014, 10:59 AM EDT

ParMarts AP

Swedish coach Par Marts was livid following a 3-0 loss to Canada in the gold medal final, but it wasn’t about the result.

Marts took direct aim at the IOC after Swedish center Nicklas Backstrom was declared ineligible to play due to taking a banned substance, suggesting the entire situation was “made up.”

“I think IOC has made things up here,” Marts said, per “It sucks.”

Marts wasn’t done there.

“I’m furious that it can happen in this damned way,” he said, per Swedish news outlets TT/SVT. “It’s inconceivable that it can happen. We’re all angry that we weren’t able to compete with a full squad.”

Backstrom, 26, was apparently banned due to an issue with allergy medicine he’s been taking daily for the last seven years — including at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver — according to a Swedish team doctor. The Capitals center had been a vital contributor leading up to the gold medal game, notching four assists through five games while averaging over 18 minutes per night. What’s more, Backstrom’s presence was crucial as Sweden had lost a pair of centers — Henrik Zetterberg, who was lost during the tournament, and Henrik Sedin, who was removed from the team just prior to the start of the Games.

Marts told reporters he only found out about the Backstrom ruling two hours prior to puck drop, and was angry about the timing, noting that Backstrom was tested Friday but notified of the results on Sunday.

As such, there was little surprise Marts was so emotional about losing Backstrom, acknowledging it did have an impact on his team.

“Backstrom, what happened with him, that affected us,” he said. “It’s only human beings sitting in there.”

  1. lowenni - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Really hard to disagree with anything he said there. I’m sure Backstrom is even angrier. If he’s been taking it for the past seven years without a event like this, why is it all of a sudden such a big deal? And why did they wait until two hours before puck drop to tell the coach if they knew two days ago?

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      It’s banned, and they should have known it’s banned. Until it’s not banned, don’t take it.
      Sorry but it’s pretty simple stuff

      • stakex - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        You’re kind missing the point…. they say he’s been taking it every day for seven years. That means he was taking it during the 2010 Olympics, and for all of his drug tests this year leading up to this game as well. So why the hell did they only say something two hours before the gold medal game?

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        “Pseudoephedrine was on the banned substances IOC list until 2004, when the WADA list replaced the IOC list. Although WADA initially only monitored pseudoephedrine, it is once again on the banned list starting January 1, 2010.[20] Romanian gymnast Andreea Răducan was stripped of her gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics after testing positive. She took two pills given to her by the team coach for a cold. Although she was stripped of the overall gold medal, she kept her other medals, and, unlike in most other doping cases, was not banned from competing again.”

        I’m not missing the point whatsoever, you’re allowed up to a certain amount of it in your system. Obviously Backstrom didn’t have enough of it in his system in the past, and this time he did.

        It not the first time it’s caused trouble at the games, and it’s Sweden’s team doctor responsibility to endure that he and the players know not to take it.

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        btw Ben Johnson’s positive test result didn’t come until 3 days after his race. Testing takes time

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      The IOC isn’t going to start picking and choosing when they enforce anti-doping laws. Does anyone think Backstrom is trying to gain an advantage? No, but that’s not the point, every athlete has to follow the same set of rules.

      Backstrom and Team Sweden needs to be smarter, and not blame anyone but themselves for a dumb mistake.

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      WADA has issued an advisory to athletes that they should discontinue taking medications containing pseudoephedrine less than 240mg per day AT LEAST 24 hours prior to the time defined as “in-competition.”
      Be advised, in some cases this may not be enough time for the substance to clear from the body,such as a slow-metabolizer or because of drug interactions.. USADA recommends avoiding pseudoephedrine-containing cold and flu products for several days in advance of competition, and using a non-prohibited alternative instead.

      So they were warned….even the 100M testing results don’t come out for 3 days after the event, and you people are blaming someone other than Sweden’s team doctor?


  2. btlpper68 - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    Backstrom is probably the best center they had can’t blame him

    • jhmiddleton81 - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      It really is a shame that he wasn’t allowed to play for Gold, I wish no team had injuries and everyone got to play at full strength but that’s just how it goes sometimes, I highly doubt it would have mattered for Sweden, they were completely dominated in every facet of the game by the Canadians

  3. tlndma - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    If Backstrom has been taking this medicine for years. How is it that he just getting banned now? Aren’t these players required to tell their organizations about all their meds. Someone dropped the ball, er puck, on this one.

  4. btlpper68 - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    The medicine was Zyrtec, yea the medicine you can buy OVer the counter

  5. erbaker67 - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Can’t wait for someone to get banned for Advil of Aleve. That’s ridiculous.

  6. joey4id - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Where the hell were the team doctors? They and only they should be responsible for approve any and all medication taken by the athletes. These are elite athletes playing on the world stage in a highly regulated and dope testing event. Sweden has only itself to blame for this fiasco. Stop your whining, coach.

  7. jimw81 - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    i’ll be pissed. he’s been taking medication for years now and now they ban him? why didn’t they do something in 2010?

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      Umm because he probably was under the accepted limit. Peole are so completely clueless on this story it blows my mind.

      “Duuuuuuuuuur why didn’t he test positive in the past?”
      “Duuuuuuuuuuur because he didn’t have enough in his system to be considered a positive test”

      Is it really that hard to understand?

      • joey4id - Feb 23, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        angrytwitterguy, you are all over this one. Seems like it is difficult to understand. I’m giving you the gold medal for your perceptiveness, and if I could 100s of thumbs up.

        “Duuuuuuuuuur why didn’t he test positive in the past?”

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 23, 2014 at 7:53 PM

        Appartently they told officials that Backstrom was taking the medication, but here’s the thing. Nobody from the IOC or WADA told him it was ok to continue using the medication during the games.

        Kinda important to make sure you have permission before continuing.
        All of it is a damn shame, but how is anyone going to blame the IOC for treating the NHL player the exact same way they have treated others in the past?

        Again, Team Sweden’s doctor should have been waaaaay ahead of this, but wasn’t.

  8. bsaures - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    He hadnt been caught because they are allowed to have it in dosages of 150mg or less. His test came back at 190mg which means he may have just taken the dosages too close together so there was more in his system when they tested him. Either way its the teams responsibility to know that the drug he is taking has these rules and to make sure they regulate him properly. They have no one to blame but their selves.

    • jimw81 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      He got banned for taking an over counter drug called Zyrtec does that give you a advantage? making u fall asleep?

      • bsaures - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        It would improve his breathing which would enhance his performance. Pretty standard definition of a performance enhancing drug.

      • shaundre93 - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        So nasal spray and breathe right strips are performance enhancers too? How can you actually believe what you just wrote?

      • bsaures - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        This is the Olympics where events can be decided by hundredths of a second. Any advantage no matter how small can be the difference between gold and 10th. These drugs even though they are not as strong as steroids and other well known PED’s do make a difference in performance and as such should not be allowed

  9. Professor Fate - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Only a couple posters on here defending this travesty. Canadians?

    • joey4id - Feb 23, 2014 at 6:03 PM

      Frustrated American?

  10. csilojohnson - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Its a stimulant not a depressant.
    Its a shame it happened. I do not agree with that rule. But… they do have Zrytec without the decongestant. I would think that wouldve been the safer option. At the very least the team doctors should have been monitoring his levels the entire tourny. As a pevious poster stated the only people too blame are the team doctors.

    • jimw81 - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Med. Director of Finnish ADA says a positive sample would require a Zyrtec D intake at least 3x the amount recommended by doctors. this reeks corruption

  11. djshnooks - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Like I just said, lol…FIXED!

  12. graymalkin26 - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Like he would have made a difference. I will say the Swedes showed some heart, unlike that totally heartless, gutless performance by the US of gay.

  13. kicksave1980 - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    It’s a failure on a lot of people involved, but it doesn’t make any less crazy of a story. It’s too late, obviously, for Backstrom, but the IOC really needs to reevaluate the list. 150 is the cutoff on SUDAFED?! I know that athletes 30 years ago used to take 20+ pills of sudafed before games to get the boost, but we’re really talking about less than what a lot of people take on a daily basis to fight allergies. It’s a rule, but it’s a ridiculous rule. And like most rules, there needs to be a little common sense involved. Does anyone really think that the nominal amount that Backstrom was over on his test really was A- intentional, and B- would have given him any sort of edge whatsoever in an athletic competition?

    • bsaures - Feb 23, 2014 at 5:46 PM

      I get what your saying but at the same time a line has to be drawn and you cant waver from it or the system loses all credibility. Backstrom and the training staff knew well in advance what the rules were and that his meds may cause a problem. He could have spread out his dosages or not taken it for the time he was in Sochi but used it knowing full well it was banned

  14. jake1199 - Feb 23, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Omg! Are you serious! First peter forsberg complains about Canadian ref’ing and now this! You lost fair and square! I must say it is hard where the swedes had tons of injuries including zetterberg to top the cake! But it was their doctors who approved the medication for it all! They new and they got caught! Don’t blame the IOC for this! If they didn’t know they should have asked!

  15. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 23, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Suck for Backstrom and Sweden, but it wouldn’t have made a difference whether he played or not. Canada dominated that game.

  16. patshal - Feb 24, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    Knowing how furious he is and knowing that all of the coaches approved of it, I don’t think it was his intent to cheat and I think Sweden has every right to be angry. And even if he was cheating, who cares. We all knew Canada would win. WHO CARES???

  17. 2qswing - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    I think those eye-black strips they wear at the outdoor games reduce glare, thus enhance performance, and should be banned,
    Seriously, I have to agree that Swede doctors blew this one. As ridiculous as it may seem on the outside, it is a rule and it’s their responsibility to manage their athletes.
    Does a golfer really have an advantage if he accidently plays the first 2 or 3 holes with two drivers in his bag left over from the practice range. Answer is NO. But if it puts him over the14 club limit he gets penalized a stroke per hole played. Dumb rule but its his caddie’s fault.
    Athletics at all levels is full of “dumb” rules. They still need to be followed and monitored.

  18. newjerseydevilsfanpuckcollection - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Lubomir Visnovsky had the same thing happen to him in Vancouver 2010.

    It made headlines back then…but I guess the Swedish medical staff forgot the news from 4 years ago.

    He got re-tested, a few days later and was then cleared to play once his levels came down.

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