Second Russian admits doping violation, disqualified from Olympics

Nadezhda Sergeeva, the Russian bobsledder who infamously wore an “I don’t do doping” shirt, has admitted to failing a doping test, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced Saturday.

Sergeeva was the second Russian to be accused of doping at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and now the second Russian to have a positive test – and disqualification – confirmed.

“The athlete is disqualified from the women’s bobsleigh event,” CAS said in a statement. “The results obtained by the team at the same event are disqualified with all resulting consequences; the athlete is excluded from Pyeongchang 2018; her accreditation shall be withdrawn.”

Sergeeva’s positive test was met with a much different response from Russian officials than Alexander Krushelnitsky’s earlier in the week. Krushelnitsky, a bronze-medalist curler, tested positive for meldonium last weekend. He was formally charged with doping on Monday, and his B-sample confirmed the positive test on Tuesday.

Nadezhda Sergeeva has been disqualified from the 2018 Winter Olympics bobsled competition. (Getty)
Nadezhda Sergeeva has been disqualified from the 2018 Winter Olympics bobsled competition. (Getty)

But still, the Russian Olympic Committee “initiated a comprehensive investigation of the circumstances,” which included a “criminal investigation under the Russian Federation criminal law.” It was determined to fight the charge, find a scapegoat and prove Krushelnitsky’s innocence.

In the case of Sergeeva – whose positive test was for trimetazidine, a stimulant considered similar in its effect to meldonium – there has been significantly less Russian backlash. Around 24 hours after the initial reports of the doping offense, she had already conceded.

Krushelnitsky also eventually waved the white flag, handing in his bronze medal on Thursday.

Sergeeva’s disqualification means significantly less than Krushelnitsky. She and teammate Anastasia Kocherzhova finished 12th in the two-woman bobsled event, meaning she has no medal to hand in, and no Olympic honor to which to cling.

The biggest impact of Sergeeva’s positive test is on Russia’s hopes of reinstatement for the Closing Ceremony on PyeongChang. The International Olympic Committee’s executive board met Saturday to review Russia’s compliance with a “code of conduct” and decide whether to allow the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” to march under the Russian flag. IOC officials walked away from the meeting without a verdict. Their deadline is Sunday.

Prior to the second doping case, all signs pointed to reinstatement. But at the 10th or 11th hour, Sergeeva’s positive test confounded the situation.

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