Russian athlete suspected of doping at PyeongChang Olympics

The case could be an obstacle to Russia’s efforts to have the Russian team formally reinstated

The Russian delegation at the Pyeongchang Olympics has announced that one of its athletes has failed a drug test.

Two Russian state news agencies cited Konstantin Vybornov, spokesman for the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” team, as saying the delegation received an official notification from the International Olympic Committee of the positive test.

The IOC later Sunday said it had taken note of Vybronov’s statement.

Vybornov said a “B” sample taken from the athlete will be analyzed within 24 hours, but did not name the athlete or the sport involved.

A confirmed doping case could be an obstacle to Russia’s efforts to have the Russian team formally reinstated in time for the closing ceremony.

“Doping testing and sanctioning at the Pyeongchang 2018 is independent from the IOC. Therefore, the IOC cannot communicate on individual cases while the procedure is still ongoing,” the IOC said in a statement. “However, we take note of the statement by a spokesperson of the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) delegation.”

The IOC added that “if the case is confirmed, it will be considered” by the IOC body which would be considering whether to reinstate Russia.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, which rules on Olympic doping cases, said it had not received any notification.

“No new case received and no rumours of it so far,” Matthieu Reeb, the court’s secretary general, said in an email.

As part of IOC sanctions for Russian doping at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, athletes from the country had to undergo IOC vetting including an examination of their drug-testing history before being invited to the Olympics. Dozens were rejected.

The IOC suspended the national Olympic committee, meaning that Russian athletes are competing in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag in Pyeongchang. The IOC has said Russia could be reinstated for the closing ceremony if it follows IOC rules, including anti-doping regulations.

The only other doping case so far at the Pyeongchang Olympics came when Japanese short-track speedskater Kai Saito tested positive for a banned diuretic and was removed from competition. His case is ongoing.

James Ellingworth, The Associated Press

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