Winter Olympics: IOC rejects request for 15 reinstated Russian athletes

Violet Powell
February 9, 2018

In December, the IOC banned Russia from competing as a team the 2018 Winter Olympics, citing the Russian state's "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the Olympic anti-doping system.

On February 1, CAS fully upheld 28 and partially upheld 11 appeals filed by Russian athletes disqualified for life from participating in the Olympic games because of the doping suspicions.

The court was also holding a separate hearing in a case involving 32 Russian athletes who appealed against their exclusion from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

They include Pavel Kulizhinikov, a former world champion in short-track speed skating who was banned from 2012 through 2014 after testing positive for the banned substance methylhexanamine.

Just three days before the start of the Games, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said it opened arbitration proceedings following an urgent request from the 32.

The chief of mission for the "Olympic Athletes from Russia" contingent at Pyeongchang, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, said on Thursday that a Russian coach had been treated badly by a member of the Canadian delegation but gave no details.

The 13 athletes and two coaches in that group included cross-country skiing gold medallist Alexander Legkov and skeleton gold medallist Alexander Tretiakov.

The IOC has barred Russian Federation from the Pyeongchang Olympics, which open on Friday, over a widespread doping conspiracy.

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Russia's team have been banned from Pyeongchang, although 168 "clean" Russian athletes were cleared to take part under a neutral flag as "Olympic Athletes from Russia".

To help visitors stay warm during the ceremonies, the local organizers said they will install windscreens around the stadium to block powerful winds.

The Panel is now holding a hearing with the 32 athletes who filed their application at the CAS Ad Hoc division on 6 February 2018.

IOC President Thomas Bach called it "a lively and spirited debate".

"We were perfectly aware that the International Olympic Committee would not let them compete, because the same criteria were used to ban those who had no relation to the Sochi Olympics, those who were juniors at that time", he told Sputnik.

"From the fact that refereeing is part of the decision we already took in December a year ago and we were requesting more information, you can conclude we're still looking into this issue", he added.

The IOC said at the time the CAS decision could have a "serious impact on the future fight against doping", and added that it could appeal against the decision at the Swiss Federal Tribunal, the country's highest court.

The IOC will hope to shift the focus to good news as North Korean and South Korean athletes compete alongside each other under a symbolic deal aimed at easing tension on the Korean peninsula.

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