Pyeongchang Games set to open with Russians still in doubt

Delia Watkins
February 8, 2018

Games organizers said 32 workers are being treated for norovirus in quarantine, including 21 from the Civil Security Staff and three foreigners.

The background to the latest scandal is easily explained.

The world has seen incontrovertible evidence that Russia deployed a system of state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. By the opening ceremonies, though, it'll warm up to a toasty 37 degrees. The invitations have not however been extended to a number of leading Russian athletes.

Thirty-two Russian athletes have appealed against their exclusion from this month's Winter Olympics. Athletes can peacefully protest during the Games, by publicly turning their backs on International Olympic Committee officials when they address the athletes at the Games.

An appointed to oversee this process initially reviewed applications submitted by 500 Russian athletes - 111 were refused nearly immediately. But in Pyeongchang, patriotic displays could land Russian athletes in trouble.

All features aim to inform the International Olympic Committee and clinicians so that they can rapidly and efficiently address injury and illness, with the goal of driving the best possible performance by athletes and the best possible experience for spectators, the statement added.

Successful appeals would be a blow to the, which would have to accept athletes it deems suspicious. The court held there was to establish they had committed anti-doping infractions.

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The Senate and House will both vote on Thursday, so Wednesday will be a day for the deal, if it is announced, to settle in and marinate.

This is a second appeal against the decision of IOC.

Russian officials say they are shocked and offended by the IOC's "aggressive" position against their athletes.

In response to the IOC's ban, 32 banned Russian national team members, including Sochi Olympic champions short-track skater Viktor Ahn and biathlete Anton Shipulin, filed a lawsuit with the Ad Hoc Division of the CAS to challenge the IOC decision barring them from the upcoming Games. These athletes had their life bans reduced to a ban for the duration of the Pyeongchang Games only. Bach then called for the CAS to be urgently reformed.

So, sport is now in a politically charged and totally conflicted situation.

The IOC has argued that as yet unpublished new evidence - not examined in the CAS process - has given rise to new doping suspicions about the 15 athletes.

Speaking in Pyeongchang on Monday, IOC president Thomas Bach said: "The panel once again did great work going through the cases anonymously". It said this raised questions about the "integrity of these athletes". "Through the Olympic Channel and the additional broadcast on Reliance-Jio's and the relevant ABU members' platforms, we are able to offer comprehensive coverage across the region and ensure fans will be able to follow all the action from PyeongChang 2018". The IOC did not do this; it pursued individuals.

He gave excuses for how long it had taken to figure out the Russian question. "But now, with the biological passport (instituted by the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2012), limits are more fluid". We are very much satisfied with our relations with the organizing committee.

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