Russian Curler Fails Doping Test Even After Russia Barred From Olympics for Doping

Even if you have no idea what curling is, you probably know you're not supposed to be doping while curling in the Olympics. Russian athletes are certainly familiar with this rule: It's why they're competing under the name OAR. But despite his entire country being nominally barred from competing in the PyeongChang Winter Games, a bronze-winning Russian curler still reportedly failed a routine drug test.

According to the New York Times, Alexander Krushelnytsky tested positive for meldonium, a heart medicine that increases blood flow. It's not available in the US, and it's been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since January 2016. The Russian delegation has acknowledged that an athlete failed a drug test but hasn't specified the athlete.

Because of a statewide doping scandal, around 160 Russian athletes at PyeongChang are competing under the name OAR (not to be confused with the band), which stands for "Olympic Athletes of Russia." The doping is being denied by the Russian government, but the allegations are serious enough that Russia's athletes are not competing under their flag.

Krushelnytsky could lose the bronze medal he won with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova in mixed-doubles curling. Since they beat Norway for third place, if the medal is stripped that bronze will go to Norway. The test result will need to be confirmed by a "B sample" before action is taken.

In a story published in a Russian news outlet, Krushelnytsky said in Russian: “Meldonium in the doping test? I’m not aware of all this.”

While this is a serious accusation for Krushelnytsky and for Russia, those less familiar with curling have interpreted the news differently:

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James Chrisman is a News Writer at Thrillist who believes making snow angels should be the marquee event of the Winter Games. Send news tips to and follow him on Twitter @james_chrisman2.