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Russian athlete subject of doping test, leaves for Seoul

Russian athlete subject of doping test, leaves for Seoul

Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, who tested positive for the banned substance meldonium at the Winter Olympics, said today he had never knowingly doped and welcomed an investigation into the "shock" result.

The Russian Olympic medallist left the Pyeongchang Winter Games on suspicion of doping.

The new doping scandal, involving Alexander Krushelnitsky, who won a bronze medal in mixed-doubles curling with his wife, has cast a shadow over Russia's Olympic program.

At a press briefing Monday, IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said that the Olympic body will examine whether to rescind the Russian ban at a board meeting on February 24, the day before the Pyeongchang Olympics' closing ceremony.

Before coming to South Korea for the Olympics, the Russian curlers trained in Japan.

Meldonium was banned in 2016 and led to Russian tennis player and former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova being barred from competition for 15 months.

Using such a small amount would have been "absolutely pointless", the statement said.

Meldonium is designed for people with heart problems and some believe it can help athletes increase stamina. "Thus, the fact of a conscious or systematic use of the banned substance is not confirmed", says the statement.

The test he said, were negative. The couple won the bronze medal. But that remorse quickly turned into a defense of the athlete. "We know that our athlete is not guilty", federation president Dmitry Svishchev said. A doping scandal past 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. The IOC has stated publicly that it may allow Russian athletes to march under the country's flag in the closing ceremony, provided officials and athletes adhered to IOC standards - and it's unclear how much a positive test would affect that possibility.

And Russian delegation spokesperson Konstantin Vybornov told the Guardian: "I spoke to a person who previously headed the anti-doping laboratory, and he said that curlers don't need meldonium".

For curling, a sport that requires sliding a heavy stone and aggressively sweeping ice in front of it to direct its motion, doping could yield an advantage, especially in the doubles version of the event, where team members sweep more than they would on a larger team. Find us on Facebook too!

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