Mark Schmidt (42) has been identified as the key man in the doping scandal that erupted during the World Ski Championships in Seefeld in 2019. Five cross-country skiers were arrested, and after a short time all admitted to having used blood doping. Later, the case has grown in scope.
In the days after the raid in the World Cup city, two cyclists also admitted to having been on the client list of the German doctor. According to German and Austrian police, at least 21 athletes from eight different sports have been involved in “Operation Årelating”.
In his own garage, Schmidt is said to have stored up to 50 blood bags in several special freezers. He is said to have earned about three million kroner a year at his illegal shop.
The trial against him is currently underway in Munich, Germany, and Schmidt risks five years in prison if he is found guilty. According to German media, he has now explained in detail how he helped athletes dope themselves.
– A hobby
Schmidt admits, among other things, that he has helped athletes to systematically dope themselves since 2012, primarily winter sports athletes and cyclists. It writes Aftonbladet, which quotes Focus.
Schmidt is accused of as many as 150 offenses and is said to have pleaded guilty to most of them.
– For me, it was always a plus-minus calculation. I saw it as a hobby, says Schmidt in a statement according to German Bild.
The German police have previously stated that there are 21 athletes from eight different European countries who are said to have used the German doctor. The athletes will come from five different sports, three of which are winter sports.
The 21 practitioners are said to have performed a three-digit number of blood transfusions, and these are said to have been performed worldwide. Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Germany and Austria, Croatia, Italy, Hawaii and South Korea were all mentioned as countries and places where blood transfusions have been performed.
Schmidt is said to have bought some of the equipment, including a blood centrifuge for 50,000 euros from Stefan Matschiner, who has previously served a sentence for helping practitioners with blood doping.
Schmidt is said to have asked for between 40,000 and 120,000 kroner per practitioner a year for his services.
It is expected that a verdict in the case will come before Christmas.