Aleksei Kravtsov, the president of the Russian Skating Union, says he knows how a banned performance-enhancing drug entered Russian athletes' bodies: the other sports teams planted it there.
“I believe we can prove the innocence of our athletes,” Kravtsov said. “Malicious acts were committed against them by other athletes.”
The Russian Skating Union is now conducting its own investigation, and Kravtsov says he's confident that lie-detector tests will exonerate Russian athletes, who he insists were unaware that they'd been exposed to meldonium.
“So far, lie-detector tests [of three athletes] have come back negative. After January 1, they did not consciously take meldonium,” Kravtsov told the news agency Interfax.
“After the meldonium ban was issued by the Russian Anti-Doping Agency in October last year, the Federal Medical-Biological Agency destroyed all supplies of the drug available to our doctors,” Kravtsov said.
On January 1, 2016, the compound meldonium was classified a performance-enhancing drug and banned for use by athletes.
Several skating athletes were found to have used the drug after the ban, including Olympic Short Track Speed Skating Champion Semyon Elistratov and World Speed Skating Champion Paul Kulizhnikov.
On March 7, 2016, tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted to using meldonium after January 1. “It's like some kind of crisis related to this drug was just waiting for us,” says Russian Minister for Sport Vitaly Mutko.