A Russian curler who won bronze in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is being investigated for doping.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said in a statement online that it had “initiated a procedure involving the athlete Aleksandr Krushelnitckii”, who competed with his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova, in the mixed curling doubles.
According to Reuters he tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.
International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Adams told the Associated Press that a failed test could mean that Russian athletes would be banned from marching under their country’s flag at the closing ceremony.
Krushelnitckii’s “A sample” tested positive, but a second sample will also be tested, Adams said, with the results announced in 24 hours.
If the results are positive, Krushelnitckii and his wife could lose their bronze medal – which would instead go to the Norwegian pair who placed fourth in the competition.
Russian Curling Federation president Dmitry Svishchev told AP that Krushelnitckii was clean on Jan. 22, and suggested he could have been spiked by rivals. “There’s a possibility of it being something within the team, that something happened during training camp, or as a political means to achieve some goal.”
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. In his opinion, this is some kind of political act.”
The 168 Russian athletes in Pyeongchang are competing as “Olympic Athletes from Russia”, and are not allowed to wear their country’s flag or colors as a result of the 2014 Sochi Olympics doping scandal.
Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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