Norway was set to claim another medal at the Winter Olympics on Thursday, after the Russian winners of a bronze in curling lost it because of a doping violation. Kristin Skaslien and Magnus Nedregotten were on their way back to South Korea to receive the bronze instead.
The Norwegian couple had traveled home after initially placing fourth in the mixed doubles curling competition despite a good start early in the Olympics. It was a bitter disappointment for them both, but now they’ve earned the bronze after all.
Eurosport reported Thursday morning that Skaslien and Nedregotten were thus returning to South Korea to claim their medal after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found their Russian rival guilty of an anti-doping rule violation.
CAS issued a press release early Thursday to report its ruling against Aleksandr Krushelnitckii of the Russian curling couple that was awarded the bronze. CAS reported that Krushelnitckii tested positive for melodonium, had admitted violating the rules and was thus disqualified from the Olympics.
That means the Russian couple’s bronze medal was also retracted and the official ranking of the mixed doubles curling event will be amended. Both that and the “reallocation of the bronze medal” is now the responsibility of the World Curling Federation (WCF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Nedregotten told Eurosport.no that he and Skaslien “have received the opportunity to travel down to PyeongChang,” while their spokesman told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that they were on their way and would probably receive their bronze medal at a new ceremony on Saturday.
“It’s clear this will be a great experience,” Lars Otto Bjørnland told NRK. “It’s somewhat different to be there and receive the medal in person, than to just get in the mail.”
Skaslien described the entire situation to NRK as “unreal, and getting the medal afterwards will also be unreal.”
Norway’s total medal haul stood at 33 as of Thursday morning. The bronze in mixed doubles curling will bring that up to at least 34 and take the sting out of Norway’s failure for the first time in years to reach the finals of the men’s curling events. The Norwegian team known for its fancy pants didn’t do very well in this Olympics and lost their chances for a medal, making the mixed doubles bronze even more special.