GAVLE, Sweden – Half a year after the Sochi Olympics Nicklas Backstrom was finally able to hold his first Olympic medal in his hands on Thursday evening at the arena in his hometown of Gavle.
The 26-year-old played his second Olympic Winter Games this year but the final day he will not remember for the good. Because he was tested positive for the presence of pseudoephedrine (PSE) in excess of the applicable decision limit after an earlier game, the International Olympic Committee provisionally suspended him on the last day of competition. The Swedish national team lost the gold medal game to Canada without its second-line centre.
After the event the IOC Disciplinary Commission determined that the provisional suspension was fully justified but also took into consideration that there was no indication of any intent of the athlete to improve his performance by taking a prohibited substance also because he had disclosed the medication in question in the doping control form and had relied on the specific advice of his team doctor that the intake of the medication would not give rise to an adverse analytical finding. Therefore it was concluded that he should be entitled to receive the silver medal and diploma awarded for men’s ice hockey.
Now Backstrom finally got the prize. The exhibition game between his hometown team Brynas Gavle, for which he played junior hockey and three years in the top Swedish senior league before transferring to the Washington Capitals, and Djurgarden Stockholm was chosen as the setting for the medal awarding by IIHF Council Member and Swedish Ice Hockey Association President Christer Englund and Swedish national coach Par Marts.
“It feels great. I was eagerly waiting for this and it’s cool to get the silver medal,” Backstrom said according to Brynas’ website. “It would have been fun to receive it on-site but it doesn’t matter that I get it here instead. I was raised and educated here in this arena so it feels good.”
Backstrom said he will hang the Olympic silver medal beside the gold medal he won at the 2006 IIHF World Championship in Riga, Latvia. On Monday he’ll travel back to North America prior to the beginning of the Washington Capitals’ training camp on 18th September.