The International Olympic Committee on Sunday acknowledged a report that an Olympic Athlete from Russia tested positive for meldonium while not specifically addressing the case.
In a statement, the IOC said it took note of a statement by an OAR spokesperson. Russian outlet Sport Express reported that curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii, who won bronze as part of the mixed doubles team, tested positive for the drug that has been banned since 2016.
The IOC said it could not comment on individual cases, noting that it does not control testing and sanctioning at the Games.
Instead, it highlighted the steps its groups took to clear athletes to compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia.
Athletes are competing under that designation here after the IOC in December suspended the Russian Olympic Committee for a system of doping that operated in the country from 2011 to 2015. That system subverted anti-doping protocols at the Sochi Olympics, where urine samples were swapped out through a hole in the wall.
After the IOC suspended the ROC, it set up an invitation review panel to examine potential Russian entries. That panel examined a variety of evidence related to doping, including an electronic database recently obtained by WADA, and looked at athletes’ testing history.
“Only athletes for whom there was no suspicion were invited to the Games,” the IOC said in its statement.
If confirmed, the positive test could mean not only the loss of a medal but could lessen the possibility that Russia will see its flag in the closing ceremony. It would also raise questions about the vetting process the IOC used to determine who would be invited to Pyeongchang.
Krushelnytsky paired with Anastasia Bryzgalova, who is also his wife, to take a bronze medal in the new event on Tuesday.
In its statement, the IOC highlighted a “strong” testing program here.
“On the one hand it is extremely disappointing when prohibited substances might have been used,” the statement said, “but on the other hand it shows the effectiveness of the anti-doping system at the Games which protects the rights of all the clean athletes.”
Under conditions set forth by the IOC, the OAR delegation must fully respect and implement the IOC’s decision in order for the IOC to allow the Russian flag at closing ceremony in a week.
The IOC said if the case is confirmed, a group overseeing the implementation of the IOC’s decision would report it to the executive board at the end of the Games.
Originally banned starting in 2016, meldonium is used primarily to treat heart and cardiovascular diseases.
WADA’s ban, which came after monitoring use of the drug in 2015, yielded hundreds of positive tests, most notably of Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova.
Because of concerns about how long it took for the drug to leave the body, WADA issued guidelines in 2016 that allowed for lesser or no sanctions based on the amount of the drug detected. Those guidelines are no longer in place.