The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced Monday it has opened a case on the curling bronze medalist from the Olympic Athlete from Russia team who failed a drug test at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
As per a request from the International Olympic Committee, the court's anti-doping division said it has initiated a new procedure involving mixed doubles curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii but added that "no hearing date has been fixed yet and no further information will be provided at this point."
If a breach of the anti-doping rules is confirmed, it could have wider ramifications for Russian athletes and the country's National Olympic Committee in the wake of the widespread, state-sponsored doping in Sochi four years ago that led to it being banned from the Olympics in South Korea.
According to Russian media and other news outlets, Krushelnitckii tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, a drug that increases blood flow to allow for improved aerobic capacity.
OAR athletes who had proven themselves clean were permitted to take part in the Pyeongchang Games, but both the Russian flag and national anthem were prohibited. The positive test comes at a difficult time for Russian sport as it attempts to make a fresh start after the Sochi scandal.
At a press briefing Monday, IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said that the Olympic body will examine whether to rescind the Russian ban at a board meeting on Feb. 24, the day before the Pyeongchang Olympics' closing ceremony.
He added that the outcome of Krushelnitckii's case will naturally be one of determining factors.
Adams declined to provide details on Krushelnitckii's case but admitted that drug testing of OAR athletes competing in Pyeongchang has been particularly stringent.
"I can't really talk about this individual case but we are testing. There was a really good pre-games testing system in place since April where, for example, the Russian athletes were tested to a significant level more than others."
Although confident the anti-doping structure is working effectively, Adams compared the challenge to that of eradicating crime.
"As everyone accepts and agrees, we will never reach a point where we have no doped athletes. It's like saying we are going to do away with burglary or murder, it just doesn't happen."
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