Le petit flambeau

L'Autriche vue par un universitaire français…

Austria has its own « Lance Armstrong »

In March 2009, I wrote an entry on this blog trying to deal with the Austrian tradition of « Wegschauen » (look away). I focused on three stories at very different levels: the way the State wept of the Fritzl case avoiding any ground thoughts on how it could happen, the bank secrecy… and the way some Austrian officials dealt with doping. This last case calls today for an important update. Susanne Pumper (born 1970) was until 2008 one of the best long distance runners in the country. Lance Armstrong won seven times the Tour de France, Mrs Pumper’s best achievement was a second place at the 2005 European Indoor Championships (3000m). I ran with her in Vienna of the winter half marathons in March 2008 (organized by her track club, the LCC, probably the most well-known in Austria). At the arrival, she was submitted to a doping test. The test was positive and proved the presence of EPO in her blood. The reaction of her track club at this point was amazing enough to launch quite a few comments: Mrs Pumper got a promotion and was named in charge of the organization of the major LCC event, the Fall Marathon. At the same time, the trainer who ordered the doping test, Wilhelm Lilge, was fired, as well as his wife who also worked at the LCC. There were already many rumors in the case of Mrs Pumper and Lilge hoped to clean the image of his club by ordering a doping test, an idea which at the end did not bring the desired result. Six other female athletes from the LCC were to be convicted over doping, two Slovenians and four Austrians (Jolanda Ceplak , Helena Javornik, Lisa Hütthaler, Bettina Müller-Weissina, Stephanie Graf and more recently Eva Maria Gradwohl). 

Susanne Pumper was sentenced a two-year suspension (the B-probe was also positive) but remained in the staff of the LCC, while starting in parallel a career as coach for rich people (check out her escort-like home page!). Pumper is linked to the extreme-right party (FPÖ) and this helps quite a lot in the Austrian society. In 2001 she organized an event ‘Run for Helene » for the FPÖ during the Vienna election campaign (« Helene » was Helene Partik-Pablé, the FPÖ candidate who declared two years earlier: « Black Africans are particularly aggressive. This is clearly in the nature of these people. They are mostly illegal in the country, they are usually drug dealers », and so on – see the official protocol of the parliamentary session).

So what happened next? The LCC decided last week to have a new president and they chose… guess who… Susanne Pumper! Even better, the new highlight will be laid on the training of young athletes. Last but not least, guess who was appointed in the law commission of the National Anti Doping Agency? Clemens Grünzweig, who was Susanne Pumper’s lawyer in the doping case where she was convicted. Even now, in August 2012, Mrs Pumper is involved in a new doping affair, after the statement made by the athlete Lisa Hütthaler.

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25 août 2012 - Posted by | Autriche, Sport | , ,

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