Russian curler stripped of Olympic medal



russiaRussian Alexandr Krushelnitckii has been stripped of the mixed doubles curling bronze medal he won at the Winter Olympics after being found guilty of doping.

Krushelnitckii finished third in the event representing the Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR) with his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova, but now the medal will likely be reallocated by the International Olympic Committee and World Curling.

“The athlete has admitted the anti-doping rule violation; he is disqualified from the mixed doubles curling event at the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018 and the results obtained by the team OAR at the same event are disqualified,” a Court of Arbitration for Sport statement said.

Krushelnitckii earlier this week denied taking meldonium, which increases blood flow, and the OAR delegation announced a criminal investigation would take place to determine how the positive test happened.

“The athlete has accepted a provisional suspension beyond the period of the games and reserved his rights to seek the elimination or reduction of any period of ineligibility based on ‘no fault or negligence’ following the conclusion of the games,” the statement said.

For meldonium to be performance-enhancing it must be used on a regular basis and over a prolonged period of time, the OAR statement said.

The OAR said Krushelnitckii provided a clear drug sample on 22 January.

Meldonium was found to be used by more than 100 Russian athletes in 2016.

Former world tennis number one Maria Sharapova served a 15-month ban for using the substance after it was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list.

The positive test will ignite further debate about the involvement of Russian athletes at the games and the prospect of the IOC lifting, or partially lifting, the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee before the Pyeongchang Olympics close on Sunday.

The ROC is under suspension by the IOC following systemic doping at the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

The IOC in December determined that Russian athletes who proved they were clean would be allowed to compete as neutrals in the games, in a team named the OAR.

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