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Austrian Skier Fails Doping Test, Fifth Positive Result of Games

<p>IOC officials say increased drug testing is working.</p>
Image: Cross-country skier Duerr latest Austrian doping offender
A sign shows the way to the Doping Contol in the main building of Laura Cross Country and Biathlon Center at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, Fe. 23, 2014. ROLAND SCHLAGER / EPA

SOCHI, Russia — An Austrian cross-country skier was kicked out of competition on the last day of the Olympics after testing positive for EPO, a banned blood-boosting drug, in the most serious doping case of the Sochi Games.

The skier, Johannes Duerr, finished eighth in the men’s skiathlon Feb. 9 and was entered in the 50-kilometer mass start on Sunday. He tested positive for the drug Feb. 16 in Austria, the official Olympic News Service reported.

“It is a black day for us,” Karl Stoss, the president of the Austrian Olympic Committee, told reporters Sunday.

Four other athletes in Sochi have failed doping tests — a German biathlete, an Italian bobsledder, a Ukrainian cross-country skier and a Latvian hockey player. Those four all tested positive for minor stimulants found in food supplements.

The five positives compare with only one positive instance of doping at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. The International Olympic Committee is carrying out almost 2,500 tests in Sochi, a record. IOC President Thomas Bach told The Associated Press that the program is working.

“For me it was never a question of the numbers and how many,” he told the AP. “I think it shows we are on the right track.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.