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Two athletes test positive at Winter Olympics

ESPN staff
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German Olympic officials say biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle has been kicked out of the Sochi Games after a positive doping test.

Also on Friday, the Italian Olympic Committee announced that bobsledder William Frullani was expelled from the Games after a positive test for a stimulant.

The German Olympic Committee says Sachenbacher-Stehle tested positive on Monday for the stimulant methylhexanamine. Both the "A" sample and backup "B" sample were positive.

The committee says the athlete has been removed from the team and is being sent home.

Sachenbacher-Stehle competed in five events in Sochi but did not win any medals. Her best results were two fourth-place finishes, in the 12.5K mass start and the mixed relay. She also finished 11th in the 7.5k sprint, 27th in the 10K and 20th in the 15K.

"There is a positive 'A' sample. There is a positive 'B' sample," Stefan Schwarzbach, spokesman for Germany's cross-country and biathlon teams, said. "And that means we have a case of doping, without a question. It's a stimulant, so it's not EPO or something like that. So there might be a possible explanation that the substance was in an extra nutrition."

Schwarzbach said the IOC held a hearing into the case, and the Germans are waiting for full report before they can comment further.

In a statement Friday, Italy's governing body CONI says it was informed by the IOC that Frullani came up positive for the substance dymetylpentylamine in a test taken in the Olympic Village on February 18.

CONI says Frullani asked for a backup test that was taken Friday and "confirmed the positive result, resulting in his exclusion from the Italian delegation."

Olympic athletes face formal doping charges if both samples are positive. It's rare for a "B" sample to contradict the original "A" finding.

The International Olympic Committee would not confirm or deny the positive tests, staying in line with its procedures on any doping investigations.

"I won't comment on whether a process is even underway," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press.

Any athlete found guilty of a doping violation faces disqualification and removal of results and medals.

CONI said that it replaced Frullani on its four-man bobsled team with Samuele Romanini. Germany has 16 medals so far in Sochi, including eight golds.

In college, Frullani competed in the decathlon at Tennessee.

The only previous German athlete sanctioned for doping at a Winter Olympics was hockey player Alois Schloder, who was disqualified from the 1972 Sapporo Games after a positive test for ephedrine.

German-born cross-country skier Johan Muehlegg was competing for Spain in 2002 when he was caught doping and stripped of one of his three gold medals at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

The IOC is conducting 2,453 drug tests in Sochi, a record for the Winter Games. The majority of tests are in strength and endurance sports, notably cross-country skiing and biathlon, events where the use of EPO and other blood-boosting drugs can aid stamina.

The IOC also stores Olympic doping samples to allow for retesting when new methods become available. The storage period has been extended from eight to 10 years under the next World Anti-Doping Code.

Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the IOC medical commission, said last weekend that he was not surprised there had been no doping cases until then.

"It's expected that people don't cheat and those who do are not here," Ljungqvist said, noting that only one positive case was recorded at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

A Russian biathlete, Irina Starykh, withdrew from the Sochi Olympics because she failed a doping test before the Games.

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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