Olympic athlete Nadezhda Sergeeva, who appeared in promotional video wearing a sweatshirt with the words “I don’t do doping” in large letters on the front, has failed a doping test at the 2018 PyeongChang Games in South Korea.
The pilot of the Russian two-woman bobsled team tested positive for the heart drug trimetazidine, which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, AP reported. According to the president of the Russian Bobsled Federation, Sergeeva, 30, denies taking the medication. She also passed a drug test about five days earlier. The Federation apparently plans to push back on the drug test outcome in the form of an appeal. The Russian delegation leader, however, claimed that Sergeeva let the entire team down.
Sergeeva and brakewoman Anastasia Kocherzhova finished in 12th place on Wednesday in the bobsled competition. Germany finished first in the event, followed by the U.S. and Canada.
Previously, Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky had to forfeit his bronze medal in curling after he tested positive for the endurance-enhancing drug meldonium. Four athletes overall have tested positive for banned substances during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics so far.
Because of an alleged state-sponsored doping scandal at the Sochi Olympics, the 168-member Russian team is competing under the Olympic flag in South Korea and is outfitted with neutral uniforms. The Nadezhda Sergeeva test result calls into question whether the International Olympic Committee will set aside the country’s suspension and reinstate Russia so the athletes can march under their nation’s flag during Sunday’s closing ceremonies. In the PyeongChang Games, Russian team members are competing as part of a cohort called “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”
“The news came a few hours after hundreds of Russian fans roared in celebration when teenage figure skater Alina Zagitova delivered their team’s first gold medal,” Reuters reported. The Russian men’s hockey team is also headed to Sunday’s gold medal game against Germany, the upset winners over Canada in the semifinal.
Here in the U.S., TV ratings for the 2018 Winter Olympics are not exactly setting the world on fire, as it were. With about 21 million prime-time viewers on average who are watching on various NBC platforms, this constitutes an eight-percent drop so far from the Sochi Olympics, Variety explained. The victory by the U.S. women’s hockey team over Canada in a shootout provided an uptick in viewership, but it was played outside of prime time.
Watch Nadezhda Sergeeva in the “I don’t do doping” shirt video below.