In an interview with the Associated Press earlier this month, Russian bobsled pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva said other Olympic athletes had warmed to her once she had been allowed to compete in this year’s PyeongChang Games by the International Olympic Committee. During the interview, she was wearing a shirt that read, “I don’t do doping.”
On Friday, Russian bobsled officials confirmed to the AP that Sergeeva had failed a doping test.
Sergeeva was one of the 168 Russian athletes who were vetted before the Games by the IOC, which had banned Russia’s Olympic federation from PyeongChang over past doping sins but allowed the preapproved Russian athletes to compete under the Olympic Athletes From Russia moniker. She’s the second Russian athlete — and just the fourth athlete overall — to fail a doping test at these Olympics, joining curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, who tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.
According to the AP, Sergeeva tested positive Sunday for trimetazidine, a medication used for angina that has been banned because of its effects on metabolism. The president of the Russian Bobsled Federation said Sergeeva denies taking the substance and that her initial drug test at the Games came back clean.
“She confirms she took no such medication, and the team confirms she was not issued any medication,” Alexander Zubkov told the AP. “Federation representatives at the Olympics” are starting to prepare a defense, he said.
“I can tell you that on the 13th it was clean, but on the 18th it gave a positive result for the heart medication,” he said.
The positive test comes at the worst possible time for Russia. On Saturday, the IOC’s executive board will decide whether to reinstate the country for Sunday’s Closing Ceremonies.
“This won’t win us any extra credit,” Russian delegation leader Stanislav Pozdnyakov told members of that country’s media, per the AP. “Unfortunately this case speaks to negligence by the athlete. She has let us down.”
On Wednesday, three days after she had given the sample that tested positive, Sergeeva’s sled finished 12th.
Read more from the PyeongChang Games: