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After a podium appearance at the 2018 Winter Olympics, he reportedly tested positive for meldonium, a drug that would have been insane for any curler to take before an global competition.

The positive test not only shocked the Russian team but the wider curling community whose sport calls for steady hands, sharp eyes and mild exertion, not the intense physical activity and endurance more associated with the use of meldonium.

International Olympic Committee Communications Director Mark Adams has said that in the case of a positive test result, the OAR Implementation Group would be expected to submit its report on the matter to the IOC's executive board by the end of the Winter Games.

Russian authorities have begun what they describe as "a comprehensive investigation" of the circumstances behind the positive test, which includes a criminal investigation.

Russian athletes are participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics as "Olympic Athletes from Russia".

'I am absolutely against doping and I have always tried to follow all anti-doping rules as closely as possible.

Following a second test, the Russian delegation said "we express our honest regret over the fact of the incident".

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The suspected doping violation has come at a delicate time for Russian Federation which is trying to draw a line under years of drug-cheating scandals and is competing at Pyeongchang as neutral athletes, unable to use their own flag or national symbols. A ban for Krushelnitsky could result in Russian Federation losing its chance to be reinstated before the end of the Games.

"I am ready to confirm that not once in the whole time that I have been in sport have I taken any banned substance or competed dishonestly in any way", he said.

Meldonium, which was banned in sports in 2016, is the same substance that led to Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova being banned from WTA competition for 18 months. On Monday, officials took the "B" sample, and hours later, the Court of Arbitration for Sport formally opened an investigation into Krushelnitckii.

"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 said. The IOC said it would review Russian sports officials and athletes before making a decision regarding any reinstatement.

Krushelnitsky had passed rigorous vetting to attend the Pyeongchang Games, raising questions over the testing programme and the move to let Russians compete despite systemic doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The Russian is the first curler to fail a doping test at an Olympic event.

Only two other athletes - the Japanese short-track speedskater Kei Saito and the Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic - have failed doping tests at these Games.


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