The B sample from the Russian curler suspected of doping at the Winter Olympics has come back positive. The anti-doping authorities have scheduled Alexander Krushelnitsky's hearing for Thursday.
The Russian delegation at the Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games announced on Tuesday that Alexander Krushelnitsky's second or "B" sample has come back positive, a day after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced it had opened a case against him.
A statement released by the Russian delegation suggested that Krushelnitsky, who teamed up with his wife to win bronze in mixed curling, had not knowingly taken the heart medication meldonium, the banned substance he tested positive for. The Russians added that the amount detected in the curler's samples was not enough to achieve a therapeutic effect.
Using such a small amount would have been "absolutely pointless," the statement said. "Thus, the fact of a conscious or systematic use of the banned substance is not confirmed."
The delegation added that it could not explain how the substance had ended up in Krushelnitsky's system and that it had launched an investigation into the matter.
Hearing scheduled for Thursday
On Wednesday, the CAS announced that it had scheduled a hearing for Krushelnitsky's case for Thursday afternoon local time in Pyeongchang.
Meanwhile, Krushelnitsky has denied knowingly taking a banned substance.
"I more than anyone else am interested in an investigation as soon as possible to find out the reasons for what has happened," Krushelnitsky said in a statement published on the website of Russia's curling federation.
"I am ready to confirm that not once in the whole time that I have been in sport have I taken any banned substance or competed dishonestly in any way," he said.
Implications for closing ceremony?
Krushelnitsky is one of 168 Russians competing under a neutral flag at the Pyeongchang Games under the banner "Olympic Athlete from Russia". This came after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the Russian Olympic Committee late last year over evidence of state-sponsored doping, outlined in a World Anti-Doping Agency-commissioned report.
The IOC has previously said it would lift the suspension at the end of the Games, allowing the Russians to display their national flag at the closing ceremony. However, the IOC's position on the matter could change in light of Krushelnitsky's positive test.
pfd/ (dpa, Reuters, AP)