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Russian bobsledder who wore anti-doping shirt just failed a doping test

Eric Adelson
Columnist

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – Leading up to the start of these Games, a Russian bobsledder bravely wore a T-shirt under her training suit that said, “I Don’t Do Doping.”

On Friday, that same bobsledder failed a doping test.

Russian bobsled federation president Alexander Zubkov announced that Nadezhda Sergeeva tested positive for a banned heart medication. She is the second athlete in the 2018 Winter Olympics to flunk a test. Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky was found to have meldonium in his system earlier in the Games.

The announcement came on the same day 15-year-old Alina Zagitova won the first gold medal for the Olympic Athletes of Russia, in figure skating. It also happened on the same day as the Russian men’s hockey team advanced to the gold-medal match, beating the Czech Republic.

The International Olympic Committee has forced Russian athletes to compete here under the label “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (O.A.R.) as punishment for doping offenses at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Sergeeva has been open about her opposition to the decision, which means the Olympic anthem will play at ceremonies for gold medalists from Russia, and the delegation may not be able to carry the flag of the Russian Federation at Closing Ceremonies this weekend.

Nadezhda Sergeeva has been popped for doping. (Yahoo Sports)

After Sergeeva and partner Anastasia Kocherzhova finished 12th in the two-man bobsled on Wednesday, she was asked by Yahoo Sports if she was disappointed about the O.A.R. label on her suit. She said she was.

“If we are here, and we are clean,” she said, “we should be able to walk under our flag.”

In an interview with the Associated Press earlier in the month, she expressed a view shared by many Russians that the doping ban is part of a plot against that nation.

“It has to end some time,” she said. “Maybe it was done specially for this Olympics, and then they will calm down.”

That’s not as likely after Friday’s news.