Statement Thomas Steger: ‘I’m a fair athlete’

Thomas Steger just before the start of Challenge Riccione 2021. (Picture: Challenge Family)

Immediately following the news that just came out showing that Thomas Steger has been given a one-year doping sentence, the Austrian pro athlete published a statement indicating his innocence. We reproduce his statement below:

“I am a fair athlete!

“In 2021 my life turned into a nightmare from one day to the next. An anonymous person had slandered me (I was part of a doping network), so I suddenly had the criminal police in the house, who searched the house, seized my mobile phone and laptop and took me along for questioning.

“After 2 further interrogations, DNA removal, data analysis of the electronics, I was finally able to prove my innocence and was acquitted by the Innsbruck public prosecutor in March 2022.

“In the summer, NADA then opened proceedings for an asthma spray (expired in 2014) found during the house search. This comes from my father’s practice (I still live with my parents) and I assure you that I have never used it as I check every drug on the Nada app.

“At the time of the trial, I was mentally exhausted, so after consulting my lawyer, I decided not to go to the trial. And initially got the maximum sentence of 4 years.

“So I had to consult another lawyer who was able to change the verdict for the better in two further hearings. Although it is still incomprehensible to me.

“I’ve been through hell for the last 2 years and have been destroyed economically and psychologically.

“Thank you to everyone who was there for me and stood by me during this difficult time. Without which I might not be anymore.”

I want to state that I love the sport and respect each of my opponents. I have never cheated on anyone! Ever since I started the sport 11 years ago I have been fair and clean!