Following an Austrian and German police raid of an “internationally active doping network” in February, BBC revealed in late March that 21 athletes from three winter and two summer sports were connected to that network by way of a German doctor.
The investigation was sparked from comments made by Austrian cross-country skier Johannes Duerr, who admitted to taking growth hormones and having blood transfusions among other things in Germany. Duerr was convicted of doping in 2014 after the Sochi Olympics and was recently arrested on March 5th due to his aforementioned remarks.
According to BBC, the alleged doping of the 21 athletes occurred from 2011 to 2019. It was also discovered that blood transfusions were not just occurring in Germany, but in many other countries around the world, including the United States according to a DW article.
These action prompted Thomas Bach, who is president of the International Olympic Committee, to speak out and call for tough sanctions on those 21 athletes connected to this ring according to an article from Reuters.
“We hope that all this will be clarified and everything will come on the table and there those responsible and the entourage of these athletes, the doctors and the personnel, that they will be punished soon and hard,” Bach said in the Reuters story on March 27.
Other athletes have confessed, such as Austrian cycler Georg Preidler as he admitted to attempted doping to police. Five cross country skiers, two from Estonia, two from Austria and one from Kazakhstan all confessed to blood doping and were released from custody after being arrested in February.
The prosecutors did not identify the accused and some of these cases remain ongoing throughout various legal systems. Names and sports of most athletes involved have not been released.