- Alexander Krushelnitsky, a medal-winning Russian curler, has denied accusations of using performance-enhancing drugs.
- The Russian Olympic Committee is investigating the case and a criminal investigation has been launched.
- The Russian Olympic team cited previous test results which suggest that the athlete had not been using the drug on a long-term basis which is needed for the drug to be effective.
Medal-winning Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky has strongly denied charges of doping after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium, and the Russian Federation is opening a criminal investigation into the case, according to The Guardian.
“I am ready to openly state that I have never, never during the time that I practice sport, used forbidden drugs and any other dishonest ways of competing,” said Krushelnitsky, who won the bronze medal in the mixed doubles curling event with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova.
“I am absolutely against doping and I have always tried to follow all anti-doping rules as closely as possible. My positive test for meldonium in this regard was for me and for Nastia not just a shock. This is a huge blow both to our reputation and career.”
The Olympic Athletes from Russia team has also called the the results of the case into question, and argued that Krushelnitsky tested clean on January 22 and would not have been taking meldonium long enough for it to have any performance-enhancing effects.
“Therefore the Russian Olympic Committee has initiated a comprehensive investigation of the circumstances which also includes the criminal investigation under the RF [Russian Federation] criminal law to establish the facts of the case in detail,” the organisation said.
This is not the first time a Russian athlete has been connected to meldonium. Over 100 Russian athletes were found to have used the substance in 2016, most notably tennis star Maria Sharapova.
Widespread doping by Russians at the 2014 Winter Olympics led to the team being banned from this year’s Olympiad. Russian athletes were allowed to appeal. Athletes who passed a rigorous screening process were allowed to compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”
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