A Russian Olympic medallist has left the Pyeongchang Winter Games on suspicion of doping, a team official said on Monday. Alexander Krushelnitsky, who competes in curling, one of the Games' least physically taxing sports, is suspected of testing positive for meldonium. Russian delegation spokesman Konstantin Vybornov told Reuters the athlete had surrendered his Games accreditation and left the Olympic village while awaiting the result of a second sample later on Monday.
Krushelnitsky won bronze with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova in mixed-doubles curling. He was not yet proved doping and his coleagues don’t believe this was possible, arguing that is not known a substance which could improve performance in curling.
Curling Olympic Sport
Facts appeared already in a sensitive situation. Russia has been accused of running a state-backed, systematic doping program for years, an allegation Moscow denies. As a result, its athletes are competing at Pyeongchang as neutral "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR), and banned from using their national flag or anthem. The Russians had been hoping that a clean record at Pyeongchang would persuade the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow them to march at the closing ceremony on Feb. 25 with the Russian flag and in national uniform. Russian curling federation president Dmitry Svishchev said Russian curlers had been tested on Jan. 22 before flying out to South Korea and the tests were negative.