Photo via Delfi
On Sunday, a source at the Games said that a medalist at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics from Russia is speculated of having tested positive for a banned substance, in a potentially major blow to the efforts of Russia to recover from a drug-cheating scandal.
The source said that a bronze-medalist named Alexander Krushelnitsky along with his wife in mixed-doubles curling is suspected of having been tested positive for meldonium. Meldonium increases the blood flow which improves the exercise capacity in athletes.
Krushelnitsky was not immediately available to issue a comment regarding the matter. A spokesperson for the Russian delegation at Pyeongchang said that he had no immediate comment.
Russia has been alleged of running a systematic doping program that is supported by the state for years, an allegation that is denied by Moscow. As an outcome, the athletes of the country are competing at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as neutral “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (OAR).
The source said that sports officials from Russia are set to meet anti-doping officers at Pyeongchang, adding that any form of violation would only be confirmed following an analysis of a “B” sample.
Krushelnitsky and Anastasia Bryzgalova, his wife, won a bronze medal in a game against Norway, which would take the medal if a violation that involves doping were to be confirmed.
Thomas Ulsrud, the Norwegian team skipper, stated: “I hope it’s not true … for the sport of curling.”
“If it’s true I feel really sad for the Norwegian team who worked really hard and ended up in fourth place and just left for Norway, and they aren’t even here,” he added.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that it had taken note of the case without going into further details.
The committee said that if the said case were to be confirmed, it would be considered by the OAR Implementation panel, the body that is in charge of monitoring the behaviour of the OAR team at the Games.
a spokesperson of the IOC stated: “On the one hand it is extremely disappointing when prohibited substances might have been used, but on the other hand it shows the effectiveness of the anti-doping system at the Games which protects the rights of all the clean athletes.”
As neutral athletes, the Russians are not able to have their anthem played in medal ceremonies or use their national symbols.
The IOC has said that it may allow the athletes from Russia to march with the Russian flag and in their national uniform at the closing ceremony of the Games on the 25th of February, provided that they will have complied with the code of conduct on neutrality.
The said code requires compliance with the anti-doping rules of the IOC.