Wednesday 15 August 2018

Russian husband and wife stripped of bronze medal after he fails ‘unexplainable’ doping test

Anastasia Bryzgalova (left) and Alexander Krushelnitsky have been stripped of their Olympic bronze medals Getty
Anastasia Bryzgalova (left) and Alexander Krushelnitsky have been stripped of their Olympic bronze medals Getty
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Russian Alexander Krushelnitsky has been stripped of the mixed doubles curling bronze medal he won at the Winter Olympics after being found guilty of doping, the Court of Arbitration for Sport's anti-doping division has announced.

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

A statement from CAS' ADD read: "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."

Krushelnitsky 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 CAS ADD statement added: "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."

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

And the OAR said Krushelnitsky provided a clear drug sample on January 22.

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 the 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.

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

There are 168 athletes competing in the OAR team, who have so far won 13 medals, four silvers and nine bronzes - but that tally includes the bronze won by Krushelnitsky and Bryzgalova in the first Olympic mixed doubles curling tournament.

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