Extended Suspension Means No Olympics for German Equestrian Ahlmann

For Christian Ahlmann, the four-month forbidden substance suspension that morphed into an eight-month suspension has its own "long tail"--in Ahlmann's case, a ban against competing in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Ahlmann was suspended prior to the individual jumping final at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong after his horse, Cöster, tested positive for the forbidden substance capsaicin, a skin-sensitizer that's sometimes used as a pain reliever. He was subsequently given a four-month suspension by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

Stinging from multiple doping and banned-substance allegations against its athletes and seeking a more substantial punishment, Ahlmann's own national federation, the German Equestrian Federation (German FN), appealed the FEI's decision and successfully got the suspension doubled to eight months, according to an Aug. 12 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board report.

The additional four months snagged Ahlmann in Rule 45 of the Olympic Charter, which is the IOC's Olympic Games rule book.

Effective July 1, 2008, Rule 45 states that "if a person is sanctioned by a suspension for more than six months by any anti-doping organization for any violation of any anti-doping regulation, that person may not participate, in any capacity, in the next edition of the Games of the Olympiad (the summer Olympic Games) and of the Olympic Winter Games following the date of expiry of such suspension," explained FEI Communications Manager Malina Gueorguiev.

The result for Ahlmann is a ban from participating in the 2012 London Games.

About the Author

Jennifer O. Bryant

Jennifer O. Bryant is editor-at-large of the U.S. Dressage Federation's magazine, USDF Connection. An independent writer and editor, Bryant contributes to many equestrian publications, has edited numerous books, and authored Olympic Equestrian, published by Eclipse Press and available at www.exclusivelyequine.com or by calling 800/582-5604. More information about Jennifer can be found on her site, www.jenniferbryant.net.

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