GENEVA — Five-time Olympic speedskating champion Claudia Pechstein on Tuesday lost her last chance to have her doping ban lifted in time to compete at the Vancouver Games.
The Swiss Federal Tribunal refused to temporarily suspend Pechstein's two-year ban for blood doping which was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last November.
The Tribunal has still to consider Pechstein's legal challenge in its entirety, but stated that the 37-year-old German's complaint "likely won't succeed."
Pechstein said she was not surprised by the ruling, but that it doesn't mean the end of her career. She had hoped to win an individual gold medal in Vancouver for the fifth straight Olympics.
"I'm 100 percent certain that, sooner or later, I will be completely rehabilitated," she said. "Everyone who believes in and supports me can be sure that they will definitely see me on the ice again."
Switzerland's supreme court is Pechstein's final appeal route because CAS is based there.
The World Anti-Doping Agency welcomed Tuesday's ruling and the Swiss court's support for the existing drug-testing methods.
"They obviously decided that the process was right and Pechstein has to accept the outcome," WADA director general David Howman told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It is an important case and it is one that shows that there are more ways of finding how people are using doping to cheat."
Pechstein denied doping and never failed a drug test.
But the International Skating Union found she gave blood samples with abnormal levels at the World Allround Championships last season. The ISU banned Pechstein from competing until February next year, prompting her appeal to CAS.
In its November ruling, a CAS panel of three lawyers rejected Pechstein's claim that her blood readings were the results of a congenital medical condition.
"The panel finds that they must, therefore, derive from the athlete's illicit manipulation of her own blood, which remains the only reasonable alternative source of such abnormal values," it said.
Pechstein is Germany's most successful Winter Olympian with nine medals, and is also a six-time world champion.
Pechstein won her first Olympic gold medal in the 5,000-meter race in Lillehammer in 1994, and took 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 in her career, including a third-place finish in the 5,000 at the 1992 Albertville Games.
AP Sports Writer Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this report.