Russian curler caught doping returns bronze medal, leaves Pyeongchang

Alexander Krushelnitsky tested positive for banned substance meldonium

Russian curler caught doping returns bronze medal, leaves Pyeongchang
Russia's bronze medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky, left, has returned his medal after testing positive for a banned substance in Pyeongchang, South Korea. © Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

CBC Sports

Russian mixed-doubles curler Alexander Krushelnitsky has returned his Olympic bronze medal and left Pyeongchang, South Korea, after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium. 

Krushelnitsky refused a hearing from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and he accepted a provisional suspension beyond the Olympics but "reserved his rights to seek the elimination or reduction of any period of ineligibility based on 'no fault or negligence'" following the conclusion of the Games.

The delegation for the Olympic Athletes from Russia said the positive results are not being challenged. The follow-up investigation will be carried out by law enforcement agencies, the Russian Curling Federation, and the athletes. 

Krushelnitsky claimed bronze last week alongside his partner and wife Anastasia Bryzgalova before both of his samples tested positive for meldonium, a substance believed to help blood circulation. 

A statement in Krushelnitsky's name published by state news agency TASS said the curler accepted meldonium had been found in his sample but that he had not doped intentionally.

"I accept a formal breach of the current anti-doping rules," he was quoted as saying.

Norwegian pair Magnus Nedregotten and Kristin Skaslien, who placed fourth in the mixed doubles after losing 8-4 to the Russians, are expected to be elevated to the bronze.

Russia is attempting to gain Olympic reinstatement after the International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian Olympic Committee last year in connection with a massive doping scheme at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi but allowed 168 athletes to compete under neutral uniforms and without the Russian national flag.

The positive result at these Games could hurt Russia's chance at being reinstated before Sunday's closing ceremony. However, the ROC says its fulfilled the financial covenants in order to lift the suspension by paying $15 million US to help the development of the global anti-doping system.

With files from the Associated Press