Swiss ski official and senior International Olympic Committee member Gian-Franco Kasper has come to the defense of Russian Olympic curler Alexander Krushelnytsky, who was stripped of his bronze medal after the pharmaceutical meldonium was found in his system.
"A special case like that could happen to any country," the official said. "Meldonium is like aspirin in our countries," he added, referring to Europe. "It's time to end this playground talk in the press," he stressed.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned the use of meldonium, a medication often used to treat coronary artery disease, in 2016. Dozens of athletes, particularly from Russia and Eastern European countries where the drug is commonly prescribed, have received suspensions or bans for using it.
Russian athletes were forced to compete at the 2018 Olympics under a neutral Olympic flag and anthem after the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was suspended over alleged doping violations. Dozens of athletes were barred from competition, significantly weakening the winter sport superpower's final medal standings.
Also on Monday, IOC member Shamil Tarpishchev told Sputnik that the ROC would be reinstated on Tuesday or Wednesday, pending checks of Russian skiers and hockey players.