Russian curlers Krushelnitsky and Bryzgalova stripped of Olympic bronze medals

Russian curlers Krushelnitsky and Bryzgalova stripped of Olympic bronze medals
Russian curlers Alexander Krushelnitsky and Anastasia Bryzgalova, representing the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) team, have been stripped of their medals, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reported on Thursday.

“(Krushelnitsky) is disqualified from the mixed doubles curling event at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 and the results obtained by the team OAR at the same event are disqualified with all resulting consequences,” says the statement, published on the organization’s website.

"The athlete has accepted a provisional suspension beyond the period of the Games and 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."

Krushelnitsky, whose A sample was declared positive for meldonium on Monday, released a statement on Wednesday saying that he would accept the punishment, while denying conscious use of the banned substance.

“I have never broken any sporting laws and have never taken doping,” the 25-year-old said. “We got to the Olympic bronze medal through hard work and constant training. From my point of view, I admit the fact of a formal violation of the current anti-doping legislation.

“It is silly to deny it, when the presence [of a] banned substance is confirmed by two doping tests. The probes were taken during the Olympic Games, and I am prepared for the corresponding verdict, which is predictable in such situations.”

The curler added that he has decided against appealing to CAS, as in his words he believes a hearing would “not make sense.”

READ MORE: Russian curler Krushelnitsky opts against CAS hearing for doping case

“Having weighed up the pros and cons, I have decided against a hearing in the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding my situation. I believe it to be pointless and [to] not make sense within the confines of the current rules,” the athlete said.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) statement, which was published on Tuesday, also addressed the issue on behalf of the OAR delegation in PyeongChang to express regret over the incident.

“We express our sincere regret over this incident,” the statement reads.

“Along with this, the circumstances of the incident do not now answer the questions of how and when meldonium got into the athlete’s body.

“It is well known that the effect of meldonium is achieved by its regular usage, and metabolites are fixed in the human body about nine months after the end of the drug’s intake. The concentration of meldonium found in the sample indicates a single use of the drug, which is not used in medical practice, is absolutely meaningless from the point of view of achieving any therapeutic effect on the human body,” it continued.

“The test taken from Alexander Krushelnitsky before the start of the Olympic Games on January 22 – as well as all the previous ones – was negative. Thus, the fact of conscious or systematic use of a prohibited substance is not confirmed.”

The athlete himself has also pointed out the senselessness of a single use of the banned drug.

“It is a huge blow to my reputation and to my career. Not to mention the fact that only someone with a complete absence of common sense could use doping in any form, especially meldonium, in the lead-up to the Olympic Games, where testing is of the highest level.”