BERLIN (AP) — A civil case for damages being brought by former Olympic speedskating champion Claudia Pechstein following a doping ban was described by the International Skating Union on Tuesday as based on "artificial ground."
Pechstein is suing the ISU and Germany's speedskating association for 3.5 million euros damages for loss of income through lost advertising revenue, court costs and medical records, plus another 400,000 euros for personal suffering. The case opens at a regional court in Munich on Wednesday.
Pechstein, who won nine medals at four Olympics, served a two-year ban from 2009 to 2011 for abnormal blood levels, despite never having failed a doping test. "Without evidence. Without a positive doping test," the 41-year-old Pechstein said on her website Tuesday. "That still makes me angry today. Because I never doped, never took a banned substance, never used a prohibited method, never missed a doping test."
Pechstein has always maintained that a hereditary anomaly inherited from her father was responsible. She claims that the ISU has "simply ignored all the information on this genetic defect." The ISU issued a statement Tuesday in which it said it maintained its "position that the case has been finally adjudicated by the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) and by two decisions of the Swiss Supreme Court."
The sport's governing body said the Munich court "should not have jurisdiction to review the case" and "should not have jurisdiction over the ISU." It added that the case should be heard by the CAS, "if at all."
"The ISU believes that Ms. Pechstein was correctly found guilty of doping. The newly 'discovered' extremely mild and compensated blood anomaly, if it exists at all, can in no case explain the extremely unusual high values of reticulocytes," said the ISU, which also commented on the high values' suspicious timing around competitions.
The ISU said it "cannot negotiate any settlement as proposed by the Pechstein lawyers." Pechstein's lawyer, Thomas Summerer, helped former East German sprinter Katrin Krabbe to compensation from the IAAF 17 years ago for loss of earnings after a positive doping test.