International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials have defended the presence of Semen Elistratov, the short-track speed skater who won a bronze medal for Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR), at Pyeongchang 2018 despite him having failed a drugs test for meldonium.
Elistratov, third in the men's 1,500m yesterday, was cleared of wrongdoing in 2016 after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) conceded that some athletes may have tested positive despite ingesting the substance before it was banned.
Other Russian athletes, including speed skaters Pavel Kulizhnikov and Denis Yuskov, were barred from competing here because of previous suspensions.
Six-time world champion Kulizhnikov was also cleared following a meldonium failure in 2016 but had previously served a two-year ban after a positive for methylhexanamine.
"Anyone who had been suspended for an ADRV (Anti-Doping Rule Violation) was not invited," IOC medical and scientific director, Richard Budgett said.
"As you know, meldonium was a special issue.
"It was accepted that, because of the way it was metabolised it could stay in the system for many many months, even nine months after it had been taken, because its stored in red blood cells, released and then stored again..."
Budgett added: "So if the case was consistent with usage before meldonium was prohibited, that would not be considered an ADRV.
"Meldonium was used in a widespread way throughout Eastern Europe and Russia and was considered a cardiac stimulant which was not prohibited.
"But, quite rightly, it this was prohibited and, because it was in such widespread use, there were a large number of cases before it was."
Elistratov, who benefited from two other skaters crashing to rise to third place, dedicated his medal to the Russian athletes barred from competing.
"I am incredibly happy that I did it, in spite of all the circumstances around Russian sport," he said.
"I dedicate this medal to all guys that have been excluded from these Games in such a hard and unfair way - this medal is for you."
IOC Presidential spokesperson Mark Adams did not give an opinion when asked if these comments would be taken into consideration by the panel determining whether Russia's suspension could be lifted before the Closing Ceremony here.
They must obey the "letter and spirit" of the IOC limitations introduced about Russia's participation in December.
Budgett also claimed they are confident that all 168 Russian athletes declared eligible to compete here are clean.
"The OAR were a major focus for the pre-Games focus and now at the Games," he said.
"The work of the panels was the select athletes where there was no evidence of any concern.
"We can be confident that the Olympic Athletes from Russia are clean.
"Obviously, because of the history, we have to be vigilant.
"The test is intelligent so depends on the sport, group and country - clearly there is a history of doping in Russia so they are high priority.
"They have been tested far more than athletes from other countries."