Speedskater Pechstein gets two-year doping ban

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Olympic speedskating great Claudia Pechstein of Germany was banned for two years because of blood doping Friday and will miss the 2010 Vancouver Games.

The International Skating Union said Pechstein's blood profile indicated abnormal changes in a series of tests, in particular after the World Allround Championships in February. The governing body ruled after a two-day hearing.

The 37-year-old skater is a five-time Olympic gold medalist. She is banned until Feb. 9, 2011 and can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Pechstein was stripped of her results in the 500-meter and 3,000-meter races Feb. 7 at the World Allround event, where she finished fifth and fourth, respectively.

Pechstein had hoped to compete in Vancouver for her sixth straight Winter Games. She won her first gold medal in the 5,000 in Lillehammer in 1994, and won at the same distance in Nagano in 1998 and Salt Lake City in 2002. She also won the 3,000 in Salt Lake City and was part of Germany's winning team in the pursuit in Turin in 2006.

She also won two Olympic silvers and two bronze medals, including a third-place finish in the 5,000 at the 1992 Albertville Games, along with six world championship titles.