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RUSSIAN Olympic medallist Alexandr Krushelnitckii has denied taking a banned substance in a suspected doping case that has rocked the PyeongChang Winter Games and could imperil Russia's efforts to regain full Olympic status.

"The circumstances of the case do not provide any answers to the questions as to how and when meldonium could have gotten into the athlete's body", the delegation said, noting that it didn't make any sense considering a pre-games sample taken from Krushelnitsky on January 22 and all previous tests were negative.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, on Tuesday, said the athlete could not have taken a banned drug deliberately.

"Therefore, the ROC has initiated a comprehensive investigation of the circumstances which also includes the criminal investigation under the RF (Russian Federation) criminal law to establish the facts of the case in detail".

A delegation spokesman says the athlete tested negative before the Olympics.

Asked if she thought the sport's reputation could be harmed by a doping positive, Dupont said: "I think most people will laugh and be like, 'What would you possibly need doping for?'"

Krushelnitsky has another explanation for why he tested positive for meldonium.

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A formal doping case was opened against the curler on Monday, by the anti-doping division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"I'm very sorry that the historical victory of Russian curling has now become the subject of a doping scandal, which is doing huge harm to our sport and to all Russian sports in general", he said. That's why the WADA banned its use, which resulted in Maria Sharapova's 15-month ban from tennis competition. It added that there is no evidence that Krushelnitckii repeatedly used meldonium.

"We completely share and support the International Olympic Committee and WADA position of zero tolerance for doping and will take all necessary measures to ensure guilty parties are punished to the fullest extent", the statement added.

Russian curling officials have previously suggested that Krushelnitsky could have been set up by a rival Russian athlete or Russia's political enemies. "Only someone with a complete absence of common sense could use doping in any form, especially meldonium, in the lead-up to the Olympic Games, where testing is of the highest level", he said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in lauded Russia's participation at the Winter Games on Tuesday, saying it had "made our Olympics better", despite calls from some athletes and anti-doping agencies for Russians to be banned from competing at the event.

The IOC is slated to decide on Saturday whether to allow the athletes to display the Russian flag during the march at the closing ceremony on Sunday.

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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