Russian Winter Olympics medallist charged with doping

Alexander Krushelnitsky with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova

The Olympic Athletics from Russian Federation team announce the opening of a criminal investigation into curler Alexander Krushelnitsky's positive drugs test.

Krushelnitckii partnered wife Anastasia Bryzgalova to bronze in the mixed doubles at the Winter Olympics last week, beating Norway for a place on the podium.

Russia's curling federation is investigating the incident, along with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the Russian Olympic Committee, which could open a criminal inquiry.

In his first comments since the positive test emerged this week, Krushelnitckii said he had never taken any banned substances and was categorically against doping. He didn't speculate on how that could have happened.

Yet it must have been quite the shock when Alexander Krushelnitsky's test came back positive for meldonium, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list in 2016. Both Sozin and the official statement from the delegation claimed meldonium would not help a curler. "Not to mention the fact that only someone with a complete absence of common sense could use doping in any form, especially meldonium, in the lead-up to the Olympic Games, where testing is of the highest level", he added.

Meldonium is thought to enhance endurance and would possibly play a role in curling by increasing the stamina of athletes, who must be accurate with their shots, sometimes down to the centimeter.

Russian curling officials earlier said Krushelnitsky could have been set up by a rival Russian athlete or a political enemy of the country.

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"We express our honest regret over the fact of the incident", the Russian officials said in their statement. But that remorse quickly turned into a defense of the athlete.

The delegation said it could not explain how the substance had ended up in Krushelnitsky's body and it was launching an investigation into the case.

Belano says he doesn't believe Alexander Krushelnitsky would have taken the drug because it would be foolish to do so.

Andrei Mitkov, an agent to leading Russian athletes including swimmer Yuliya Efimova, wrote on Facebook that the two men discussed the "restoration of the OCD [sic, ROC] and the passage of our athletes at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games".

"I will say that there is a reason to dope during curling", Lee Banville, an assistant professor at the University of Montana journalism school and a curler, told the Missoulian, a Montana newspaper.

"We completely share and support the International Olympic Committee and WADA position of zero tolerance for doping and will take all necessary measures to ensure guilty parties are punished to the fullest extent", the statement added.

"If (Krushelnitsky is found guilty) then they've robbed us of our moment of glory, receiving our medal in the stadium".

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