German Doping Doctor Had 21 Elite Athletes as Clients

Doctor Mark Schmidt provided blood doping services to athletes in five sports representing eight countries.

Austrian cross-country skier Max Hauke may have been Dr. Mark Schmidt’s most famous client thanks to the unauthorized release of a police video featuring him in the middle of a blood transfusion. But Hauke was not the doctor’s only client.

Austrian and German police arrested Hauke, four Nordic skiers and one cyclist when they raided a hotel room at an Austrian resort in Seefield during the 2019 International Ski Federation Nordic World Ski Championships on February 27, 2019.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) suspended Hauke, Dominik Baldauf (Austria), Karel Tammjarv (Estnia), Andreas Veerpalu (Estonia) and Alexey Poltoranian (Kazakhstan) in connection with the raid.

The 5 athletes caught red-handed undergoing transfusions in the Seefield hotel room were not the only athletes on Dr. Schmidt’s client list. Dr. Schmidt apparently had a client list of athletes from eight different countries – Austria, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Croatia, Slovenia, South Korea and the United States.

The Austrian Federal Police (Bundespolizei) have linked a total of 21 elite athletes to the prohibited blood doping services offered by Dr. Schmidt. The names of the additional athletes have not been publicly released.

At least one Schmidt client has turned himself into police. Austrian cyclist Georg Preidler (Team Groupama-FDJ) voluntarily admitted to being one of Schmidt’s clients after surrendering to police in Graz.

Each client reportedly paid Dr. Schmidt between 4,000 and 12,000 euros ($4,500-$13,600) to extract and store their blood in the off-season and reintroduce the blood prior to competition.

The 40-year old doctor had been providing doping services to clients since as early as 2011. Two of Schmidt’s clients were given blood transfusions immediately prior to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The very fact that Dr. Schmidt has been providing blood doping services to athletes while avoiding detection should be concerning for anti-doping officials. It points to a major failure in the Athlete Biological Passport system (ABP).

The Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) was created specifically to detect irregularities and fluctuations in several blood parameters over time. The ABP obviously failed miserably in detecting doping by Dr. Schmidt’s clients.

Sources:
  • DW. (March 20, 2019). Doping probe of German doctor leads to 21 athletes from 8 countries. Retrieved from dw.com/en/doping-probe-of-german-doctor-leads-to-21-athletes-from-8-countries/a-47993421

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