By Nick Butler

Carolina Kostner is facing a four year ban for allegedly aiding the doping of her boyfriend ©Getty ImagesIn a rare move, Italy's former figure skating world champion Carolina Kostner is facing a ban of over four years for being complicit in the doping regime of her former boyfriend.

Kostner, the 2012 world champion who won a Winter Olympic bronze medal at Sochi 2014, is accused of assisting ex-boyfriend Alex Schwazer, the Beijing 2008 Olympic 50 kilometre race walk champion who tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) ahead of his title defence in London four years later. 

Although the 27-year-old denies having anything to do with his doping, Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) prosecutors believe she helped the disgraced race-walker avoid a drugs test earlier in 2012.

The case has now been put forward to CONI's internal doping court by its anti-doping prosecutor, along with a recommendation that Kostner be banned for four years and three months.

This is longer than the three-and-a-half year ban Schwazer is currently serving.

Alex Schwazer won 50km racewalking gold at Beijing 2008 before being caught for doping ©AFP/Getty ImagesAlex Schwazer won 50km racewalking gold at Beijing 2008 before being caught for doping ©AFP/Getty Images

If this proposal is confirmed, the skater, who is currently enjoying a post-Olympic year away from competition, would be unable to compete at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang and would be well into her 30s before she could return.

It is unclear whether a ban would be backdated, meaning her being possibly stripped of some of the titles she has won, which has also included European titles in 2012 and 2013 and a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships in London.

The case is thought to hinge on a published report of Kostner's testimony to prosecutors allegedly admitting she lied to World Anti Doping Agency inspectors who came to her home in Germany on July 29, 2012.

According to lawyer Giovanni Fontana, she told inspectors that Schwazer was not home in order to "respect his privacy", before he was subsequently caught by testers in Italy.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
September 2014: Italy given approval to use WADA Anti-Doping Administration and Management System
September 2014: Kostner summoned by investigators over claims she was complicit in Olympic champion's doping
June 2013: IAAF "categorically refutes" Schwazer doping cover-up
August 2012: Failed drugs test Italian Olympic champion walker leaves London 2012 and athletics for good