JACQUELINE DILANCHYAN WRITES – Jaws, as well as reputations, dropped after a second athlete from Asia was caught doping at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. After Japanese speed skater Kei Saito was sent home from the Olympic Village after becoming the first athlete at the 2018 Olympic Games to return a positive drug test, Russia’s curling ace Alexander Krushelnitsky tested positive for the banned substance meldonium after winning a bronze medal in mixed doubles. This announcement sent shockwaves through a sport not commonly associated with scandal. However, the same cannot be said of Krushelnitsky’s home country.
Viewers of the 2018 Olympics Games took to twitter to share some of their thoughts on yet another doping scandal from Russia.
Russia + sports (of any kind) + olympics = doping? Yup you bet. Cheater is their first, middle and last names.
— Birdlady #He caved bigly. (@elyboybird) February 19, 2018
Cheating is in their DNA.
— Wayne Martorelli (@django22) February 19, 2018
If you're not cheatin, you're not trying! -Putin
— Ann Marie (@annmarie72714) February 19, 2018
Viewers were floored, left with questions as to why any athlete, let alone a Russian athlete, would try a stunt like this after the International Olympic Committee took serious measures against Russian athletes over the country’s system of state-supported cheating by athletes using performance enhancing drugs. The International Olympic Committee stated that Russian athletes were given a pass to compete in the games but would have to pass strict scrutiny and would compete under the title “Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR).”
While Russia’s Krushelnitsky is being hammered with blame and backlash, Japan’s Kei Saito left the Winter games with very little media coverage and public criticism. In fact, any criticism that came Saito’s way, came with a comment about the Russians as well.
So why the disparity in reactions? Well, Russia hasn’t exactly been a fan favorite around the world lately. And news of another Russian athlete cheating gives people another reason to pile it on them.
Krushelnitsky and his partner, wife Anastasia Bryzgalova, have since been stripped of their bronze medal from last week’s mixed doubles curling event. Japan’s Kei Saito was put on provisional suspension by The Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) after his pre-competition test revealed signs of a masking agent.