Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Russian Federation hopes doping case won't hurt bid for Olympic status

Olympic Athletes from Russia flagbearer a POCOG volunteer leads the delegation parade during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium Roberto Schmidt AFP Getty Images Olympic Athletes from Russia parade during the Opening Ceremony
Kristopher Love | 25 February, 2018, 14:13

Russia's bronze medallists Anastasia Bryzgalova (left) and Alexander Krushelnitsky (right) celebrate on the podium during the curling mixed doubles venue ceremony at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

He is set to face a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing in the near future.

Norway remains atop the medal table at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea with 35 total medals comprised of 13 gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze.

The Russian Olympic delegation in Pyeongchang has launched an investigation into the case and has said it can not explain how meldonium got into Krushelnitsky's body.

When doping scandals engulf curling, a pursuit where the absence of peak physical fitness presents no barrier to viable medal hopes, it suggests Russia's state-sponsored program is still kicking and does not, in fact, know any bounds.

IOC President Thomas Bach briefly met Igor Levitin, vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee, on Wednesday night but did not discuss the closing ceremony, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said, describing it as a "four-minute" courtesy encounter. "I believe that a hearing would be useless under the current rules".

Krushelnitsky, who won mixed doubles bronze along with his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova, has protested his innocence and officials have hinted at foul play.

Earlier, Krushelnitsky had denied taking meldonium and said he was categorically against doping.

After winning bronze in short-track, Russian skater Semen Elistratov dedicated his medal to his friends "who were excluded in a mean and disgusting way and without any explanation". "We now await CAS's decision on any post-Games sanction".

"The circumstances of the case do not provide any answers to the questions as to how and when meldomium could have gotten into the athlete's body", the statement read.

The IOC, however, stated that doping-free athletes from Russian Federation could go to the 2018 Olympic Games under the classification of neutral athletes, or the OAR status, which stands for 'Olympic Athlete from Russian Federation'.

Meldonium was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency [Wada] at the start of 2016, with its most high-profile case involving Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova, who served a 15-month ban from the sport.

Russian Federation charged to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period, outshooting Norway 19-2, and remained in control throughout the game as chants of "Red Machine" and "Russia" echoed around the half-empty Gangneung Hockey Center.

Last December, Russia was slapped with an indefinite suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which prevented its athletes from representing the country at the Games.