By Karolos Grohmann
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – Norway’s mixed doubles curlers team will be awarded the bronze at a ceremony at the Pyeongchang Olympics after the medal was stripped from the Russian pair for doping earlier this week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Friday.
The Norwegians will have the rare honor for athletes to receive the medal they lost out on at the same Games, as the procedure of medal reallocation for doping can often last months or even years.
The IOC is now in the process of reallocating some medals from as far back as the Beijing 2008 Olympics after re-tests of drugs samples returned several positive tests.
Earlier this week, Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky tested positive for the banned substance meldonium and he and his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova, were stripped of their medal after he accepted the anti-doping rule violation.
“We are hoping there will be a reallocation ceremony for the bronze medal winners before the closing ceremony (on Sunday),” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters. “We are very confident it will happen. I cannot say when yet.”
Krushelnitsky and Bryzgalova have agreed to surrender their medals, with the case coming at a delicate time for Russia, which has been accused of running a state-backed, systematic doping program for years, an allegation Moscow denies.
Russians are competing at Pyeongchang as neutral athletes, and the country had been hoping that a clean record at the Games would enable it to return to full Olympic status.
Canada won gold in the mixed doubles event and Switzerland earned the silver medal.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John O’Brien)