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Race walker, judoka kicked out after failing drug tests

A top Italian race walker and an American judo fighter have been sent home for failing drug tests, officials announced Monday.
Alex Schwazer, here cooling himself during the 50 km race walk at the 2007 world championships in Japan, tested positive for doping at the Olympics on Monday. (David Guttenfelder/Associated Press)

Defending Olympic 50-kilometre ace walk champion Alex Schwazer tested positive for doping and will miss the London Games.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said Monday that Schwazer had been removed from the team.

Earlier Monday, the team said an unidentified athlete had failed a doping test conducted for the World Anti-Doping Agency before arriving in London. Details of the alleged doping offence were not given.

The 27-year-old Schwazer had been due to defend his 2008 Olympic title in the 50-kilometre walk on Sunday.

Schwazer won gold at the Beijing Games in an Olympic record time of three hours 37 minutes and nine seconds.

His doping confession Monday meant "one less medal but more cleaning" house, Petrucci told Italian state television.

Schwazer's agent, Gloria Mancini, told The Associated Press that his entourage had no idea he was doping.

"We are bitterly surprised," Mancini said in a telephone interview. "Especially since this is an athlete who has always condemned doping in the strongest terms."

The Italian athletics federation said it was notified of Schwazer's doping test results on Monday afternoon.

"While fully agreeing with CONI's choice, [the federation] expresses deep disappointment for what happened, underlining its strong stance of condemnation against every form of doping," it said in a statement.

Schwazer, a two-time world championships bronze medalist, works as a police officer, according to his biography on the official London Olympics website. He is one of the best known athletes in the 286-member Italian team at the London Games.

Schwazer's profile has been raised at home because his girlfriend, Carolina Kostner, is the reigning women's figure skating world champion.

Judoka sent home for cannabis

American judo fighter Nick Delpopolo was expelled from the Olympics on Monday for doping, saying he unintentionally ate something before the games that had been baked with marijuana.

Delpopolo is the first of the 10,500 London Games athletes to fail an in-competition doping test. His case is the fifth positive test for a banned substance reported by the IOC since the Olympic body started its London testing program in mid-July. The other four were caught before competing.

The International Olympic Committee said it disqualified him from the 73-kilogram class, where he placed seventh. The IOC added that he tested positive for metabolites of cannabis after competing on July 30, the day he competed.

The IOC said it will strip him of his accreditation immediately and will ask the International Judo Federation to alter the standings in Delpopolo's event. The IOC also requested that judo's governing body "consider any further action within its own competence."

The 23-year-old judoka from Westfield, N.J., said his positive test was "caused by my inadvertent consumption of food that I did not realize had been baked with marijuana" before he left for the Olympics.

"I apologize to U.S. Olympic Committee, to my teammates, and to my fans, and I am embarrassed by this mistake," he said in a statement. "I look forward to representing my country in the future, and will rededicate myself to being the best judo athlete that I can be."

U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement that his group is "absolutely committed to clean competition and stringent anti-doping penalties. Any positive test, for any banned substance, comes with the appropriate consequences and we absolutely support the disqualification."

Delpopolo, according to his official Olympic biography, was born Petra Perovic in the former Yugoslavia. He was adopted by an American family who changed his name.