TURIN: Italian police raided Austrias biathlon and cross-country skiing team bases on suspicion of doping late on Saturday, casting a pall over a day that made Olympic history at the Winter Games.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) anti-doping officials tested 15 Austrian athletes for evidence of doping, officials said. An investigative source told Reuters that the police had found nothing untoward so far.
The Austrian team said they would protest at the raids.
We are in favour of controls but these kind of methods, turning up at such a late hour is not acceptable, said Heinz Jungwirth, secretary-general of the Austrian Olympic Committee. We are in competition tomorrow and this is harassment.
In a Games that had been relatively quiet on the doping front, the raids also raised the spectre of Olympics past.
The IOC said a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report stated the Austrians may have been visited by Walter Mayer, the coach who was banned from the Olympics until after 2010 as blood transfusion equipment was found in a chalet at Salt Lake City.
Austrian team officials told Reuters that police surrounded two buildings housing the athletes and they were taken to Sestriere 5km away where IOC conducted doping tests. They were then returned to their houses.
It was a bleak end to a record-breaking day of sport.
Earlier, Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Janica Kostelic were crowned the most successful Olympic Alpine skiers of all time and Shani Davis of the United States became the first black athlete to win an individual gold at a Winter Games.
Aamodt and Kostelic both romped to their fourth Winter Olympic golds Aamodt in the mens super-G and Kostelic just over half an hour later in the womens combined.
The last one is always the best one, Aamodt, 34, said of his gold. The Norwegian, who won his first gold in the super-G at the 1992 Albertville Games, is competing in his fifth Winter Olympics.
Croatian Kostelic took the combined title for the second time running in an event that had been extended over two days because of the weather.
Davis gold in the mens 1,000m speedskating put the US back on top of the medal standings with seven golds.
I think its cool to have a gold medal regardless of the colour, Davis said. Although African Americans choose basketball or some other sport, I chose a different route.
Regardless of the colour, I wake up in the morning and work as hard as anybody. Its still a breakthrough though.
In the mountains, Germany briefly vaulted to top of the medals table when Kati Wilhelm won their sixth gold by triumphing in the biathlon 10km pursuit.
Russia also have six golds, thanks to their womens cross-country skiers, who won the 4x5km relay in swirling snow.
Austrians won gold and silver in the individual large hill ski jumping, with Thomas Morgenstern beating his roommate Andreas Kofler to the gold by the narrowest of margins.
In short track skating, South Korea ruled, with Jin Sun-yu winning the womens 1,500m and Ahn Hyun-soo taking his second gold of the Games in the mens 1,000m. Reuters