Russian athlete fails doping test days after winning bronze medal .
According to reports, Alexander Krushelnitsky tested positive for meldonium — a banned substance that increases blood flow and helps athletes gain an extra edge when it comes to exercise. It’s the same drug that got Maria Sharapova banned from tennis for 15 months.
Russia is already in the midst of a huge Olympic doping scandal that has cast a major shadow over their presence at the 2018 Games. After dozens of Russian athletes tested positive for banned substances, the country was accused of running a state-backed doping program designed to give their athletes a competitive advantage.
That scandal got the country banned from the Winter Games as a nation, though the International Olympic Committee ultimately allowed some Russian athletes to compete under the classification of “Olympic Athletes From Russia.” None of those athletes are permitted to represent or display the Russian flag or colors while competing, and any medals they earn are not officially attributed to Russia.
As it turns out, Krushelnitsky has apparently proved that you can still find a way to fail a doping test at an Olympics in which your country is already banned for doping. Who could have seen that coming?
The IOC has released a statement saying they are aware of the positive test and are looking into it, but they have yet to provide many official details.
“On the one hand it is extremely disappointing when prohibited substances might have been used, but on the other hand it shows the effectiveness of the anti-doping system at the Games which protects the rights of all the clean athletes,” an IOC spokesperson said.
That positive test result would still need to be confirmed by a “B sample” before the IOC takes action, but Krushelnitsky is in danger of having his bronze medal stripped if the second sample comes back positive as well. If that happens, the bronze would likely be awarded to Norway — the event’s fourth-place finisher.