Russian athlete suspected of doping at Olympics

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Russian short track speed skater Semen Elistratov, who won bronze in the men's 1,500m in Pyeongchang, served a brief ban for the same substance in 2016. "We have information from our sources that the substance found was meldonium, which has not been used by Russian athletes and teams since 2015". "I'm sure we'll see them again later in the tournament, and I think the outcome will be a lot different". Pushing and shoving followed countless whistles, and at one point USA forward Jordan Greenway and Prokhorkin got tangled up and came as close to a fight as players can without dropping the gloves.

Richard Budgett, medical director for the International Olympic Committee, said it seemed that Elistratov took the drug before it was banned at the start of 2016. Scores of athletes, coaches and officials tainted by the scandal have been barred, though the International Olympic Committee has been considering allowing the Russian athletes to march under their national flag and uniforms for the closing ceremony, which they were not permitted to do during the opening ceremony.

The Norwegian mixed doubles curling team finished fourth and could get the bronze if the positive test is confirmed.

The skipper of the Russian women's team, Viktoria Moiseeva wanted to comfort Krushelnitsky and Bryzgalova but "we thought that there are no words to comfort now".

Russian Curling Federation president Dmitry Svishchev told The Associated Press that Krushelnitsky tested clean as recently as January 22, the day before he flew to a pre-Olympic training camp in Japan. "I can't imagine what kind of drugs you could use in curling ... so it's very hard to believe".

Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam victor and former world number one, was banned for 15 months after testing positive for meldonium in early 2016. Curlers need to have strong core muscles and upper-body strength to manage the often rigorous sweeping that helps them guide the rock down the ice. Because there are just two curlers on each mixed doubles team instead of the four in traditional curling, there is little rest between throws, and both teammates are often heavily involved in sweeping. My sweepers are working out like five times a week, go to the gym, so it (performance-enhancing drugs) can help, but we shouldn't do that.

"It was a knuckle-puck, and from a pretty long way away", said Zapolski, whom Granato confirmed would remain the United States starter moving forward. But she said she still had no reservations about playing against the Russian athletes on Monday.

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Krushelnitsky's "A sample" tested positive. "I think that's stupid". A decision would be made soon after that.

Entering the game, the Russians looked as if they had better players than the United States, and that showed in each team's final preliminary-round game.

The offence has brought the IOC's decision to allow supposedly clean Russian athletes to compete at Pyeongchang 2018 under an Olympic Athlete from Russia banner under further scrutiny, given the widespread use of drugs by Russian athletes.

Russian Federation has been accused of running a state-backed, systematic doping programme for years, an allegation Moscow denies.

Krushelnitsky did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The IOC added that "if the case is confirmed, it will be considered" by the IOC body which would be considering whether to reinstate Russian Federation.

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