Russian Athlete Fails Drug Test at 2018 Winter Olympics

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2018

A spectator waves the Russia flag during the men's preliminary round ice hockey match between the Olympic Athletes from Russia and Slovenia during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 16, 2018.   / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

A spokesman for the Olympic Athletes from Russia has confirmed one of their athletes failed a drug test during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

According to James Ellingworth of the Associated Press, Russian state news agencies have reported the failure. The report made no mention of the athlete or sport, but Nick Butler of Inside the Games reports it is Alexander Krushelnytsky, a member of the mixed doubles curling team.

Sport Express (h/t Sean Ingle of the Guardian) also reported the athlete in question is Krushelnytsky. He and his wife Anastasia Bryzgalovoy won the bronze medal at the 2018 Olympics. Per the report, the drug in question is meldonium, a medication used to treat heart victims.

Russia have been banned from the 2018 Olympics as part of a massive investigation into systematic doping abuse, forcing hundreds of athletes to compete under a neutral flag.

Per Ellingworth, the International Olympic Committee have "taken note" of the statement from the Russian spokesman, but the case has not been confirmed. The Court of Arbitration for Sport has not yet been notified.

Meldonium was moved to the list of banned substances in 2016, and several top athletes have been punished for using the product since then. Heavyweight boxing contender Alexander Povetkin and tennis superstar Maria Sharapova are two of the biggest names who were caught using the drug.

Japanese speed skater Kei Saito was the only athlete removed from the 2018 Olympics for a doping incident so far.

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