21 athletes, 5 sports in focus as doping probe expands

Competitors make their way during the cross-country men's 50K Mass Start event, at the Nordic Ski World Championships. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

MUNICH — German prosecutors say as many as 21 athletes from five sports may have been part of a doping ring stretching around the world.

Austrian police arrested five competitors at the Nordic skiing world championships last month and the case has since spread to cycling. Munich prosecutor Kai Graeber says the scandal could spread further.

Graeber says blood doping has occurred on an industrial scale since late 2011 and "there is believed to have been a three-figure number of cases of blood withdrawal and re-transfusion around the world."

Authorities aren’t naming suspects or the sports affected, but Graeber says three of the five sports are winter events.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.