While Russia did not officially participate in this year’s Winter Olympic Games, there are over 100 Russian athletes competing under a neutral flag. One such athlete? Professional curler Alexander Krushelnitsky who, along with his wife, slid away with a bronze medal in mixed curling.
Now, in a bit of shocking news, Krushelnitsky and wife Anastasia Bryzgalova are set to be stripped of that metal and banished from the Olympics entirely. Why? Doping.
Krushelnitsky failed a drug test, testing positive for a high dose of meldonium, a popular doping agent that put tennis great Maria Sharapova’s career on hold for nearly two years after she was caught using the performance enhancing pharmaceutical.
#Russian medalist at Games suspected of doping: source
Alexander Krushelnitsky, a bronze-medalist along with his wife in mixed-doubles #curling, is suspected of having tested positive for meldonium. Meldonium increases blood flow to improve exercise capacity in athletes @Reuters pic.twitter.com/h7Xv9B8Og6
— Real News Line (@RealNewsLine) February 18, 2018
Krushelnitsky claims to have been set up, accusing a jealous Russian athlete who didn’t make it to the games of spiking his drink one night.
There’s also the question as to why curling, as a sport, would require a drug boost in the first place.
“I spoke to a person who previously headed the anti-doping laboratory, and he said that curlers don’t need meldonium. In his opinion, this is some kind of political act,” said Andrei Sozin, the Russian curling federation vice-president. “Do I believe that? I don’t know.”
Russian curling federation president Dmitry Svishchev concurs with his colleague, noting that all Russian curlers had been drug tested on January 22, before flying out to South Korea, with each test coming back negative.
“I have known these guys for many years,” he said. “Only a crazy person takes banned substances before a competition, before the Olympics. It’s a strange story. It raises a lot of questions.”
Krushelnitsky will still get a chance to present his case in front of a hearing. The date for said hearing has not been set.
[image via Twitter/screenshot]
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