Banned Ski Coach Rams Police Roadblock

The chalet in San Sicario, Italy, in which the Austrian biathlon and cross country staff are staying. Italian authorities searched for banned substances late 18 February but found no evidence of doping in overnight raids. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also conducted unannounced, out-of-competition drug tests on 10 Austrian athletes -- six cross country skiers and four biathletes. AFP PHOTO DDP/MICHAEL KAPPELER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images
The banned Austrian ski coach at the center of a doping investigation at the Turin Olympics crashed his car into a police roadblock Sunday evening after leading authorities on a bizarre chase.

Walter Mayer was slightly injured in the accident, in which he struck an unoccupied police car set up as an impromptu barrier in the town of Paternion in the southwestern province of Carinthia, about 15 miles from the Italian frontier and some 250 miles from Turin, police said. He was taken into protective custody.

Mayer was returning to his native Austria just hours after Italian authorities searched Austria's biathlon and cross-country team quarters for banned substances. Police acted on a tipoff that Mayer — who was accused of blood doping at the 2002 Olympics while he was Austria's Nordic team coach — was with the team.

Italian police seized blood analysis equipment during the raids, as well as syringes, vials of distilled water, asthma medication and other substances, the national news agency ANSA reported, quoting unidentified investigative sources. One Austrian athlete threw a bag out of a window containing needles and medicines, and Mayer apparently left the scene in a minivan, ANSA said.

In related developments:

  • Shani Davis became the first black to win an individual gold medal in Winter Olympic history Saturday, capturing the men's 1,000-meter speedskating race. But CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reports Davis' triumph was tinged with bitterness. He refused to join the U.S. squad for the 5,000 meter team pursuit, instead focusing on his own event, angering teammates when they came in sixth place.
  • A former Jamaican bobsledder is now an Olympic medalist. Lascelles Brown, who pushed sleds for Jamaica from 1999 until 2004, helped Canada win a silver medal in two-man bobsledding Sunday night — only about a month after he obtained citizenship and earned the right to represent his new homeland in the Turin Games.
  • Manmade snow allowed the Turin Olympics to go ahead as scheduled last week, when bright sun, blue skies and brown bare spots defined the Alpine scenery here. So it was only fitting that when some of the real thing finally fell from the skies Sunday, the Olympics ground to a halt. With nearly a foot of snow blanketing the mountain venues, Olympic transport slowed to a crawl and spectators waited in vain for events to begin.
  • U.S. skiing coaches are worried about Bode Miller's stamina in Monday's giant slalom — perhaps his best chance left to win a medal and salvage pre-Olympic expectations. The reigning overall World Cup champion is medal-less after three events and whether he turns things around could depend on how badly his legs hurt on an unusually long Olympic course.