Controversy over drug test allegedly carried out in December, only revealed at Beijing Winter Olympics, continues to delay team event medal ceremony figure skating, won by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).
But what is trimetazidine, the banned substance at the heart of the controversy?
According to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), trimetazidine “is a medicine used to prevent angina attacks, which are sudden pains in the chest, jaw and back caused by physical exertion, due to ‘reduced blood flow to the heart’.
It is listed in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited Substances 2021 under the category of “Hormonal and Metabolic Modulators”, a class of drugs that have been banned by WADA due to evidence that athletes use them to improve their performance.
“It’s an interesting choice to use this way because I think a lot of times people might think: To improve your performance, you would use a stimulant or something that would increase your heart rate or boost your metabolism,” Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a pediatric emergency physician at the University of Rochester Medical Center, told CNN on Thursday.
“But what this drug actually does is make your heart work more efficiently. It doesn’t change your blood pressure or your heart rate very much,” Murray said.
“An athlete wouldn’t necessarily get nervous or feel all that different, but they would theoretically be able to perform at a higher level for longer. It would potentially increase their endurance.”
It has already been used by athletes: The most famous doping case involving trimetazidine is that of Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, who was suspended for three months in 2014 after testing positive for the drug.