Doping case 'extremely disappointing' if proven

Ross Houston
February 19, 2018

Alexander Krushelnytsky, who won a bronze medal with his wife in mixed-doubles curling, reportedly tested positive for traces of meldonium, a heart medication that the World Anti-Doping Agency has banned as a performance-enhancer since 2015.

A Russian medallist at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is suspected of having tested positive for a banned substance, a source at the Games said on Sunday, in a potential major blow to Russia's efforts to emerge from a drug-cheating scandal.

He echoed a general bewilderment among curling athletes who couldn't fathom why anyone would use drugs that aid endurance in a sport that needs steady hands and concentration rather than peak physical fitness.

Krushelnitsky won bronze with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova in mixed-doubles curling in Pyeongchang.

"It's extremely disappointing for us if a case is proven", IOC spokesman Mark Adams said after a curler from the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) delegation was implicated in the second doping scandal to hit the Games.

The statement confirms the procedure was initiated at the request of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but mentions no specific date for a hearing.

OAR are competing under the Olympic flag and the Olympic anthem is being played at any medal ceremonies they feature in.

"We were all shocked when we found out yesterday".

"Should this case be proven or should this case come to fruition, that will also be part of consideration as to whether they will be allowed to march in the closing ceremony under the (Russian) flag", International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Adams said at a press conference at the Main Press Centre here. "I can't imagine what kind of drugs you could use in it's very hard to believe".

Russian Federation has been accused of running a state-backed, systematic doping programme for years, an allegation Moscow denies.

"Only a insane person takes banned substances before a competition, before the Olympics", Svishchev said on Sunday night when the news first broke.

Russian athletes who could prove they are clean could compete under the OAR banner, with the team comprising 168 competitors - the third biggest behind Canada and the United States.

"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". It said that if the case were to be confirmed, it would be considered by its OAR Implementation panel, the body in charge of monitoring the OAR team's behaviour at the Games.

"The substance involved is believed to be meldonium, a drug banned since January 2016 but sold over the counter in many eastern European countries". It was the substance that got Maria Sharapova banned from tennis for 15 months and also the substance that speed skater Semen Elistratov tested positive for 2016.

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