Russian Olympic curler pulls out of CAS doping hearing

Alexander Krushelnitsky

An Olympic curling bronze medallist from Russian Federation was found guilty of violating an anti-doping rule at the PyeongChang Winter Games and was stripped of his medal, an worldwide sports arbitration body announced Thursday.

Alexander won his Olympic medal with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova in the mixed doubles event.

Krushelnitckii took home Russia's first medal in the sport, a bronze mixed-doubles with his wife, at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The OAR said Krushelnitsky had passed a pre-Games drugs test on January 22 and that the Russian Olympic Committee had launched a criminal investigation into the circumstances of "how and when meldonium could have gotten into the athlete's body".

Russian curling officials earlier said Krushelnitsky could have been set up by a rival Russian athlete or a political enemy of the country.

The Russian curler who tested positive for meldonium in PyeongChang and his partner will give back their bronze medals, according to a Russian state TV.

Krushelnitsky tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, which is believed to help blood circulation.

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Due to the nature of the sport and the athlete's clean reputation, multiple Russian officials have expressed their extreme disbelief over the investigation.

A source close to the case told AFP that Russian Federation has paid the $15 million it was fined in December when it was suspended by the International Olympic Committee for mass doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Russian delegation spokesman Konstantin Vybornov told Reuters that Krushelnitsky had surrendered his Games accreditation and left the Olympic village while awaiting the result of a second sample later on Monday.

His case has been controversial as he was one of 168 athletes who passed rigorous testing to compete as a neutral in Pyeongchang, where Russian Federation are banned following the discovery of systemic doping.

"Not to mention the fact that only someone with a complete absence of common sense could use doping in any form, especially meldonium, in the lead-up to the Olympic Games, where testing is of the highest level".

"I'm very sorry that the historical victory of Russian curling has now become the subject of a doping scandal, which is doing huge harm to our sport and to all Russian sports in general", Krushelnitckii told insidethegames.

"We express our honest regret over the fact of the incident", the Russian officials said in their statement.

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