Banned Russian athletes have appeals to compete at Games denied

Tricia Pearson
February 11, 2018

It also banned dozens of athletes from the Games for life and stripped their Sochi Games medals following several investigations into the doping affair.

Among those whose won't get a chance to compete: Viktor Ahn, a six-time gold medalist in short track speedskating; cross-country skiing gold medalist Alexander Legkov; skeleton gold medalist Alexander Tretiakov; along with potential medal contenders in biathlon, luge and bobsled.

Eager to shine on its home soil at the 2014 Sochi Games, the nation embarked on a massive scheme that most infamously involved cutting a hole in the wall of the anti-doping lab, so tainted samples could be swapped out for clean urine.

For Friday's opening ceremony, Russian Federation will march under the Olympic flag in red and gray tracksuits with an "Olympic Athlete from Russia" emblem.

"In its decisions, the CAS arbitrators have considered that the process created by the IOC to establish an invitation list of Russian athletes to compete as Olympic athletes from Russia (OAR) could not be described as a sanction but rather as an eligibility decision", CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb said, reading from a statement.

The IOC has invited 168 Russians to participate as "Olympic Athletes from Russia", competing in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag.

Pyeongchang: Russia hopes its Olympic ban for systemic doping will be lifted before the end of the Pyeongchang Winter Games, a senior sports official said on Thursday, adding that athletes had been warned to comply with strict rules governing their behaviour.

Forty-seven Russians implicated in doping lost a last-minute court bid to take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Friday, just hours before the opening ceremony. The IOC didn't respond when asked if that complies with its rules. There is a traditional samovar of tea, a folk choir, even the dress in which figure skater Adelina Sotnikova won the gold medal in Sochi in 2014.

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When the International Olympic Committee decision came in December, it was too late to make new team bags for everyone, so many have traveled with electrical tape over the word "Russia" on their luggage.

The CAS panel determined the Russian applicants did not demonstrate that the two IOC special commissions - the invitation review panel and the Olympic Athlete from Russia implementation group - carried out their evaluations in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner.

It also perhaps puts onto the backburner until the close of the Games the Russian doping matter- or then again, maybe not, given the extraordinary emotion the Russian doping matter has elicited.

"I'm having a very odd feeling..."

An IOC spokesperson said, "We welcome this decision which supports the fight against doping and brings clarity for all athletes".

Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko was scathing in his assessment telling TASS the CAS decision would "diminish competition and attention to the Games".

Stephen Hess, an global sports lawyer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said the decision was a victory for the IOC.

"We will protect and defend [all whistleblowers'] interests", said Craig Reedie, Wada president. I was hoping that CAS would take our side.

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