Sports court identifies Russian Olympic curler in doping case

Feb. 19 (UPI) — An international sporting court on Monday formally identified a Russian curler participating at the 2018 Winter Olympics as the subject of a new doping case.

Pyeongchang bronze medalist Alexander Krushelnitsky, a curler who’d been cleared by the International Olympic Committee to compete in Pyengchang, tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, the Court of Arbitration for Sport said in a statement.

The anti-doping division said no hearing date has been set for Krushelnitsky.

It had previously been suspected that Krushelnitsky was the Russian athlete under investigation by the CAS.

Many, but not all Russian Olympians are competing in the Pyengchang Games as neutrals under the banner, “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” A doping scandal last year prompted the IOC to ban Russia’s Olympic delegation from competing under the Russian flag, and those who are competing first had to be cleared by the Olympic body to participate.

Konstantin Vybornov, a spokesman for the neutral Russian team, said the curler is still waiting for results for another test before the violation is confirmed.

Russian curling president Dmitry Svishchev called the anti-doping case “strange.”

“I have known these guys for many years,” Svishchev 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.”

Meldonium, a substance favored by endurance athletes, increases blood flow and improves exercise capacity.

Including Krushelnitsky’s, Olympic Athletes from Russia have so far won 11 medals in Pyengchang — three silver and eight bronze.

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