June 24, 2018

Curlers on steroids? Olympic curling world stunned by Russian doping scandal

20 February 2018, 08:12 | Kristopher Drake

Krushelnitsky won bronze alongsideĀ Anastasia Bryzgalova who has not failed a doping test

Krushelnitsky won bronze alongsideĀ Anastasia Bryzgalova who has not failed a doping test

Russian athletes have won 11 medals so far in Pyeongchang, including the curling bronze, as well as silvers in figure skating, cross-country skiing and skeleton.

Alexander Krushelnitsky won a bronze medal in mixed doubles curling last week with his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova (the one with those hypnotic eyes) but their medal is in jeopardy amid new accusations.

Russian Curling Federation president Dmitry Svishchev said it was possible someone spiked Krushelnitsky's food or drink with meldonium, which was banned in 2016.

Athletes typically provide a blood or urine specimen that is divided into an A sample, which receives a preliminary screen, and a B sample, which is usually tested off site for a specific substance after a suspicious result from the A sample. "It raises a lot of questions".

With hundreds of positive tests in the months following the ban, the world anti-doping watchdog has revised its policy regarding the drug, admitting that it can take up to six months for meldonium to completely leave the body.

He echoed a general bewilderment among curling athletes who couldn't fathom why anyone would use drugs that aid endurance in a sport that needs steady hands and concentration rather than peak physical fitness.

Czech Republic beats Canada in shootout
The Czechs are installed at +218 to prevail in regulation after barely squeaking out a 2-1 win over a plucky Korean side. Cho Min-ho, the second line center, scored the team's only goal - its first ever in the Olympics - at 7:34 in the first.

No hearing date has been set for Krushelnitsky, although Adams hinted that the failed test could result in punishments for the entire Russian team.

Russian curling coach Sergei Belanov earlier dismissed the claims against Krushelnitsky, saying doping would be "no advantage" in curling, a sedate ice sport."No benefits. Of course we very much hope it was some kind of mistake", Russian curler Viktoria Moiseeva said, adding the team believed Krushelnitsky was innocent.

"We have stayed away from those kind of topics for a long time", he said.

Nedregotten revealed his subsequent shock at learning that Krushelnitsky had tested positive for a banned substance.

When asked if the incident might shake the confidence of other athletes in Pyeongchang, who had been reassured that all of their Russian rivals had been held to intense testing and standards, Adams said, "It's extremely disappointing for us, if a case is proven". Because there are just two curlers on each team instead of the four in traditional curling, there is little rest between throws, and both teammates are often heavily involved in sweeping. "So I feel bad for the guy if he didn't take it knowingly, but you're responsible for what goes into your body, so I think they would have to strip him of his medal".

"First of all, I want to apologise to my partners on the Olympic team, our delegation and all the fans for not being able to protect ourselves and Nastya from the problems that we faced today", Krushelnitckii said in a statement, sent to insidethegames.

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