To wit: A Russian athlete might be forced to forfeit his curling bronze medal after being suspected of failing a preliminary drug test, and a French ice dancer accidentally unclipped the back of his partner’s dress, leaving her to scramble to keep covered up.
Ah, the human drama of athletic competition.
Let’s look first at the curious case of Alexander Krushelnitsky, who finished third in the Olympic debut of mixed doubles curling with his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova. In a sport that doesn’t scream “brute strength,” Krushelnitsky is accused of using meldonium, the same performance-enhancing drug that earned his countrywoman Maria Sharapova a 15-month suspension from pro tennis. Banned since 2016, meldonium is a medicine for heart-attack victims that increases blood flow and gooses stamina.
We’ll pause here while some of you giggle.
Krushelnitsky, who must undergo a “B sample” drug test after a routine urine sample came up dodgy, is being defended by the president of the Russian Curling Federation. Dmitry Svishchev asserts that the athlete’s food or drink might have been spiked with the banned substance. In other news, neither Tonya Harding nor ex-hubby Jeff Gillooly was spotted near the Olympic Village.
Elsewhere in PyeongChang on Sunday, the French ice dancing team of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron battled through an unwelcome twist during their short program. Seems he managed to unclip the back of her halter top rather early in the performance, leaving Papadakis to struggle — and fail — against gravity while untold millions watched around the world.
Her left breast was exposed on live TV. NBC quickly switched to a wide shot and has edited the incident out for linear and online rebroadcast. “Once a competitor’s brief wardrobe issue became evident, we purposely used wider camera shots and carefully selected replays to keep the issue obscured,” the network told the Associated Press.
A mortified Papadakis told reporters after her skate: “I felt it right away and I prayed. That’s about what I could do.”
She was able to refasten the offending clip after their routine, but it obviously was a distraction. Still, the pair ended up in second place with the free dance scheduled for today.
And it’s not the first time in this Olympics that an outfit became an ice dancer’s enemy. South Korean skater Yura Min’s dress decided to slip right at the beginning of her short program last week, but she somehow finished the routine without any full reveal..