Image courtesy of The Times Uk.

The Nordic skiing World Championships in Seefeld was hit with a doping scandal last week, after a video of Austrian skier Max Hauke with a doping needle in his arm leaked online.

The video shows Hauke having a blood transfusion ahead of the men’s 15km race that took place on Wednesday.


There were a number of police raids – in Erfurt, Germany, and at the championships in Seefeld, which resulted in the arrests of five elite skiers and four other people.

Along with Hauke, Austrian Dominik Baldauf was also arrested. The others included four-time Olympian Alexei Poltoranin Of Kazakhstan, and Estonian teammates Karel Tammjarv and Andreas Veerpalu.

The athletes were released on Friday, but were been banned to take part in the rest of the championship by the International Skiing Federation (FIS).

FIS president Gian Franco Kasper made statement, saying “If there is a silver lining, I hope that this decisive action sends a clear message to other athletes that there will be severe personal, legal and sporting consequences against doping offenders”.

The incident resulted in Callum Skinner, the former track cyclist to react in horror, saying it “lays the urgent need for a global anti-doping reform.

Skinner, who is part of a new global athlete movement to hold sporting chiefs to account, told the Daily Telegraph he was “saddened and concerned for the welfare of the athlete in question”.

“Most athletes will have heard of doping via blood transfusions – to actually see it was worse than I had imagined,” he said. “Not one athlete enters the sport with dreams of doping. The entire system needs to be reviewed and that is why athlete engagement and equal involvement in decision-making is crucial for the future success of sport.  In a very short period of time we have heard a lot from athletes and change is being demanded, the status quo is outdated and no longer acceptable.”

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have been working harder these recent months with major calls for global reform in anti-doping. The organisation has confirmed the raids in Seefeld were successfully implemented as part of a large scale operation to tackle the issues of doping and the use of performance-enhancing drugs in skiing.

For more skiing news and updates, stay tuned to The Sprongo Blog.