Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

PyeongChang Winter Olympics: 45 Russian Athletes' Request To Join Winter Olympics Declined

PyeongChang Winter Olympics: 45 Russian Athletes' Request To Join Winter Olympics Declined

Athletes' attempts to challenge the IOC ruling were in vain, as on Friday, the Ad Hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the Russian Olympic ban, noting that the prerogative to invite participants to the Games belongs exclusively to the IOC.

The decision of sport's highest court was announced fewer than nine hours prior to the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics, in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Russian Federation is banned from competing for their country due to an alleged state-backed doping scheme, but the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has allowed it to send so-called neutral athletes who have no history of drugs-cheating. However, the panel's observance of the requirement raised numerous questions, as a clean doping record didn't guarantee an Olympic berth for a number of Russian athletes, including Ahn. So too did the lawyer for Grigory Rodchenkov, the mastermind of the Sochi scandal and the whistleblower who brought it to the attention of the anti-doping authorities.

Having not heard any evidence to establish the guilt of several Russian athletes, the CAS sustained their appeals.

Instead it invited 169 carefully screened Russian athletes to compete as neutrals under the Olympic flag.

It spares the International Olympic Committee further embarrassment over the controversial saga of Russian participation in these Games.

"I hope International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach is listening".

CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb confirmed the verdict in Pyeongchang, but did not take any questions.

Russian athletes competing in Pyeongchang must follow a code of conduct that prevents them from wearing their country colors and advises them against posting national symbols on social media.

South Korea-born Ahn is the most decorated short-track speedskater in Olympic history with six gold medals. Never mind that 45 Russian athletes were excluded from the games early Friday.

Pozdnyakov repeated the goal: to march in the closing ceremony under Russia's flag — not the five-ring, Olympic version.

They have the third largest delegation at the Games after the United States and Canada, with 168 athletes. 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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