Ironman winner admits using EPO
Germany's Kraft tested positive after Oct. 16 race
Nina Kraft won last month’s Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii.
The Associated Press
Updated: 3:15 p.m. ET Nov. 11, 2004
FRANKFURT, Germany - Nina Kraft, winner of last month’s Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii,
acknowledged Thursday that she had used the banned endurance-boosting drug EPO.
Kraft, who tested positive after the Oct. 16 event in Kailua-Kona, said she accepted her guilt and would
not request analysis of her backup sample.
“The mistake cannot be rectified; I am going to bear all the consequences,” she told the Hesse state radio.
Kraft, the first German woman to win the Hawaii Ironman championship, faces a two-year ban.
She said she took EPO during a three-week period and stopped five days before the Hawaii competition.
“I never really rejoiced over the victory in Hawaii,” Kraft said. “I was ashamed the entire time, especially
in front of my family. I cheated.”
EPO, or erythropoietin, stimulates the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells and is a drug of choice in
The German Triathlon Union said Kraft admitted “making a big mistake.”
Kraft’s brother, Florian, said his sister’s action “cannot be justified but perhaps it can be understood.”
“It’s a matter of money, a lot of money, and ethics suffer in that case,” he said on his Web site. “Nina
tried [EPO] for the first time, without expertise or medical supervision.”
Confirmation of the positive test came after a report Thursday in the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper.
“I did something stupid,” she was quoted as telling Kurt Denk, organizer of the Ironman Germany
Kraft allegedly began using EPO in late summer with the agreement of her partner and coach Martin
Malleier, the newspaper said.
Another German triathlete, Katja Schumacher, tested positive for testosterone in July and was banned for
Reinhard Wilke, a DTU vice president, called for a full investigation.
“Everything has to come out,” he said.
The World Triathlon Corporation, which oversees the Ironman, said it won’t distribute prize money from the
Big Island race until additional test results are completed.
A German maker of food supplements said it would end its sponsorship deal with Kraft.
Normann Stadler, a German triathlete who has also won the Hawaii Ironman, said Kraft’s doping case was
“the worst thing that could have happened.”
“It’s a great pity for our sport,” he said.