Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, the husband of the woman dubbed an "Angelina Jolie lookalike," may be stripped of his Olympic medal after he failed a doping test -- the latest positive test after a country-wide doping scandal that led to Russia's banning from the Pyeongchang games.
The Russian Olympic Committee said Tuesday it is launching an investigation into the incident to determine how the banned substance, found in his “B” sample, ended up in Krushelnitsky’s body. The committee said the Olympic curler, who was competing independently due to Russia's banning and won a bronze medal for mixed doubles curling with wife Anastasia Bryzgalova last week, cleared a doping test Jan. 22.
“Thus, the fact of conscious or systematic use of a prohibited substance is not confirmed,” the committee said in a statement on Tuesday. “The circumstances of the incident do not now give an answer to the questions, how and when the meldonia could get into the athlete's body.”
The delegation expressed its “sincere regret” in the incident, but said Krushelnitsky would not have benefited from the drug based on the concentration that was found in the tests.
Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov also said Tuesday Krushelnitsky’s failed doping test “does not make any sense” and believes the Olympic medalist couldn’t have taken the drug deliberately.
“It’s obvious that in this particular case, the athlete could not have intentionally used a prohibited substance, it just does not make any sense,” Kolobkov told TASS news agency, according to Reuters. “Curling, in theory, in not the kind of sport in which dishonest athletes dope.”
Curling requires steady hands and concentration, rather than physical endurance.
The scandal comes after the International Olympic Committee suspended Russian athletes from competing in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in connection with the massive doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi games. Only 169 Russian athletes were allowed to compete — but as the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” and wearing neutral team uniforms without the country’s flag.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said no date has yet been set for Krushelnitsky’s hearing. The curler is likely to lose his medal because of the positive test.
Three athletes have been caught doping at the Winter Olympics. Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic tested positive for fenoterol in an in-competition test. Japanese short-track speedskater Kei Saito failed a pre-competition test.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.