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Russian Curling Medalist Charged With Doping


Russian curling medalist Aleksandr Krushelnitsky and wife Anastasia Bryzgalova compete in Olympic curling.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has confirmed that Russian curling medalist Aleksandr Krushelnitsky has been charged with a doping offense at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The court said February 19 that it has "initiated a procedure" involving Krushelnitsky "further to a request from the International Olympic Committee."

Krushelnitsky has won a bronze medal in the mixed doubles event along with his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova.

The CAS says no hearing date has been set.

Khruselnitsky's is the second doping case of the Pyeongchang Olympics after a Japanese short-track speedskater tested positive for a banned diuretic drug.

If the doping violation is proven, it could affect Russian athletes' chances of being allowed to march under their own flag at the closing ceremony.

"If confirmed, this will be taken into account [by the implementation panel] along with many, many other factors,” Adams said.

“There are several ifs along the way before we get there," Adams said.

The Kremlin has refused to comment on the case.

"We shouldn't comment on this," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "We call on everyone to wait for the official statements."

However, Russia's curling federation chief dismissed the charge as a "provocation" and a "subversive act."

"During his career, since 2015, he [Krushelnitsky] gave 11 samples for testing and all of them have been negative. Just imagine what could have happened inside the man's head to take a [banned] pill ahead of the Olympics?" Dmitry Svishchev told Russia's 360TV channel.

"I'm confident it's a provocation, a subversive act," Svishchev added.

Svishchev claimed that doping would be pointless in curling, a game of skill and not power.

He also dismissed rumors that Khruselnitsky had handed in his accreditation and left the Olympic Village.

"I talked to our guys in the morning. None of them have left the Olympic Village," Svishchev said.

Meldonium was the same substance that led to Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova being banned from WTA competition for 18 months in 2016.

Delegation spokesman Konstantin Vybornov told the Reuters news agency on February 19 that Krushelnitsky was awaiting the result of a B-sample, expected to be revealed later in the day.

Vybornov said Krushelnitsky has left the Olympic village and surrendered his accreditation.

Russian officials appeared to reject the allegations. Vybornov called the situation as "simply nonsense," while a curlling coach, Sergei Belanov, said doping violations are "stupid -- and Aleksandr is not stupid."

Reuters said Krushelnitsky did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Russian athletes are under particular scrutiny at the Winter Olympics.

They are participating under the Olympic Athletes from Russia designation after the IOC banned Russia from competing as a team at the Olympics.

The IOC cited investigations it said showed a longstanding state-sponsored doping program and "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the Olympic antidoping system at Winter Olympics that Russia hosted in Sochi in 2014.

The IOC subsequently invited 169 carefully screened Russian athletes to compete as independents in Pyeongchang.

The IOC has said it could allow the Russians to attend the closing ceremony in Team Russia uniforms under the Russian flag if the team keeps to its IOC-mandated status during the competitions. A decision is expected on February 24, the day before the finale.

Russian officials have said they have uniforms ready if the team is reinstated.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and The Daily Mail
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