Published: Thu, February 08, 2018
Sports | By Toni Houston

Russian athletes not yet off the hook, says IOC

Russian athletes not yet off the hook, says IOC

International Olympic Committee chiefs were stunned last Thursday when the Court for Arbitration for Sport overturned life bans imposed on 28 Russian athletes linked to a state-sponsored doping scheme operating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, ruling them potentially eligible for participation in Pyeongchang.

Two groups of Russian athletes seeking late entry for the Pyeongchang Olympics had their appeals adjourned Wednesday, leaving decisions on their participation to the eve of the opening ceremony at the earliest.

But on Thursday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced it was clearing 28 other Russian athletes who competed in Sochi, including 13 athletes who would conceivably be eligible for these Games.

Thirteen Russian athletes and two coaches whose life bans for doping were lifted by a top sports court may be invited to take part in the Pyeongchang Olympics, the IOC said Saturday. None of the athletes whose bans were overturned feature in the list.

The number of OAR athletes could increase, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport announcing, as the International Olympic Committee session was ongoing, that 32 Russian athletes have begun a procedure against the decision not to invite them to the Pyeongchang Games.

The IOC, however, has refused to invite them, noting there was evidence about the athletes that had not been available to the IOC commission that had investigated them.

Asked then whether the ban should be seen as a success or failure due to the large number of Russian athletes competing, Adams said, "It's hard to judge something before it has happened obviously".

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CAS ruled there was insufficient evidence to show they had broken doping rules during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. "We expected that the CAS decision would dispel all suspicions against the athletes", Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Speaking at the Olympic village, IOC President Thomas Bach repeated his disquiet over the CAS ruling and said on Monday an appeal was possible.

AIBA responded by claiming: "This decision is extremely disappointing for AIBA as it hoped the IOC Executive Board would have understood that the processes necessary to implement even more measures require more time".

"We know that Western media are planning pseudo-investigations on the theme of "Russian fingerprints" in hacking attacks on information resources related to the hosting of the Winter Olympic Games in the Republic of Korea".

"We share the distress, uncertainty and frustration expressed by many athletes on the news of this ruling and believe this decision to be a massive setback for clean sport", the committee said in a statement on Tuesday.

At least 168 Russian athletes are participating in the Games, according to the PyeongChang official website.

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