Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky is facing a doping charge after winning a bronze medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics, a violation that has several other athletes competing at the games collectively confused.
Krushelnitsky, who finished third in mixed doubles along with his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova, tested positive for meldonium, a banned substance that increases blood flow and improves exercise capacity, CBS News reported Monday.
“I think most people will laugh and ask, ‘What could you possibly need doping for?’ as I am thinking,” Madeleine Dupont, skip for the Denmark rink, told the New York Post. “I’m not even sure what use doping would be for in curling. There is probably something with strength, I’m not sure, it’s not down my alley.”
Other curlers were bewildered to why a curler would need a banned substance.
“We’ve always said how great it is that we have a sport where scandals don’t happen because we really don’t need it,” Viktoria Moiseeva, skip of the Olympic Athletes from Russia women’s team also told the New York Post. “With us, it’s not faster, higher, stronger, it’s about being more accurate… I can’t imagine what kind of drugs you could use in curling, and for what.”
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams confirmed Krushelnitsky’s positive test, which he says could mean the Russian competitors will not be allowed to march under their own flag at the closing ceremony — a ruling that was supposed to be decided on this week.
The country’s team was banned from the Olympics in connection with a giant doping scheme from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. That’s why they are required to compete instead as the “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”
The Russian Curling Federation president, Dmitry Svishchev, said Krushelnitsky tested clean in January before arriving for pre-Olympic training and it’s possible his food or drink was spiked by rival Russian athletes or the country’s political enemies.