On September 6 2023, Russian news outlet RIA Novosti reported that Daniel Grassl had violated anti-doping rules.
The Italian skater allegedly missed three doping tests. NADO Italia told the the site, that there’s been no decision at the time as to whether sanctions will be imposed. A source also told RIA Novosti ‘it was most likely a technical error due to him training abroad and not updating his location.’
The Italian news agency, Agenzia Giornalistica Italia, posted the following statement from Grassl: “I’m not aware of this news, it was difficult for me to live in Moscow alone, but I don’t know anything about anti-doping, this news is not true: I’m still skating, if I were disqualified I couldn’t do it but I have to ask the manager if this rumour is going around.”
The 2022-23 Season
In August 2022, Daniel Grassl moved from his longtime training base in Egna, Italy, to train at The Skating Club of Boston in Massachusetts, USA, under Alexei Letov and Olga Ganicheva.
He was invited to compete at Japan Open as part of Team Europe in October, and also placed fourth and first at his Grand Prix events respectively which led him to become the first Italian male singles skater to qualify for the Grand Prix Final. Just before the Final, he won the silver medal at his Challenger Series event: Warsaw Cup.
In the press conference at MK John Wilson Trophy in November, Grassl said that he had returned to Italy after Skate America “because [he] missed his friends and family.” On December 5th, he officially announced his return to train in Italy.
Grassl competed at the Grand Prix Final and the Italian National Championships later that month, where he finished off of the podium for the first time since the 17-18 season. He then decided to move to Moscow, Russia, at the beginning of the year to train under Eteri Tutberidze, Sergei Dudakov, and Daniil Gleikhengauz. The decision was met with massive criticism outside of the country — not only was Russia invading Ukraine, but Russian athletes were also banned from competing at international competitions as a consequence.
However, the Italian federation supported his move. President Andrea Gios said he “had not found any documents that testify to how Mrs. Eteri Tutberidze supported the war. If anyone finds and shows me such a document, then I will be the first to tell Daniel to stop his collaboration.”
Tutberidze, Dudakov, and Gleikhengauz are also the coaches of Kamila Valieva who is currently being investigated for a doping violation from December 2021. In an interview with RAI News, Grassl said “I think the coach has nothing to do with it.”
On September 5th 2023 — just half a year after his controversial decision — Grassl announced that he had moved back to Italy and would now be coached by Edoardo De Bernardis.
As an athlete belonging to a national team, Daniel Grassl is part of NADO Italia’s Registered Testing Pool.
Being in a RTP, athletes have the obligation to provide their whereabouts and keep them updated by a deadline on a quarterly basis. The required information includes:
- Home address, email address and phone number.
- An address for overnight accommodations.
- Regular activities, such as training, work, and school, the locations and the times of these activities.
- Competition schedules and locations.
- A 60-minute time slot for each day where they’ll be available and accessible for testing and liable for a potential ‘missed test.’
NADO Italia declined to comment based on athlete privacy, when asked by AnythingGOEs about the date of the violation, whether an explanation was provided, and what the process would look like moving forward.
Article 2.4 of the WADA Code defines ‘Whereabouts Failures’ as: Any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures, as defined in the International Standard for Results Management, within a twelve-month period by an Athlete in a Registered Testing Pool.
At the time of writing, Grassl has withdrawn from all Challenger Series events that he originally appeared on the entry list for Lombardia Trophy, Nebelhorn Trophy, Nepela Memorial, and Budapest Trophy.
In an exclusive statement to AnythingGOEs, Grassl’s management said: “The justifications presented by Daniel are still being examined. Moreover, in view of the physical and psychological stress given by the situation, Daniel decided to take a break by distancing himself from the environment.”