Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Russian appeals delayed till after Olympics

Russian appeals delayed till after Olympics

A group of 13 Russians lost a last-ditch bid to beat their country's doping ban and take part in the Pyeongchang Olympics today, the day before the opening ceremony.

The IOC, which has cleared 169 Russians to compete at PyeongChang, said that "not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation". "If there's a positive ruling, they'll fly in".

In December, the International Olympic Committee banned Russia from competing at the PyeongChang Olympics following two separate investigations - one concerning alleged doping violations by individual Russian athletes, and the other alleging the existence of a state-sponsored doping system in Russia.

"Thus, we call for stronger leadership from sport to protect clean athletes and their right to doping-free sport".

John Coates, the Australian IOC member who also oversees CAS operations, said Tuesday that the 32 had also filed appeals in Swiss courts, but didn't give details.

The 32 athletes all failed to pass the mandatory International Olympic Committee vetting - imposed as a result of Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics - and weren't invited to the games. If they win medals, they'll stand under the Olympic flag while the Olympic anthem plays.

Two Olympic gold medalists are among the latest group of 15 Russians who have launched an appeal seeking late entry to the Pyeongchang Olympics. "I'll just say that we came here to defend our good name and we were fully listened to by the CAS panel", said luge coach Albert Demchenko, who was at the hearing. With 168 IOC-approved athletes, it's already one of the biggest teams in Pyeongchang.

On Wednesday, CAS registered a further appeal filed by 15 Russian athletes and coaches who were rendered ineligible for PyeongChang by the IOC.

Another WADA commissioned report released in 2017 found that Russia's elaborate state-sponsored doping program involving 1,000 athletes in 30 sports produced at least 27 ill-gotten Olympic medals and undermined the integrity of two Olympic Games and several other major worldwide sports competitions over a four-year period. If they win, it would force the IOC to accept athletes it considers to be linked to doping offenses.The Russian team is formally banned, so they would have to compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag.

Russian athletes who have appealed include Viktor Ahn, a six-time Olympic gold medalist in short-track speedskating, as well as cross-country ski gold medalist Alexander Legkov and skeleton gold medalist Alexander Tretiakov.

"We're hoping for a fair and logical decision from the court, " he said.

According to an official International Olympic Committee figure, 168 Russian athletes now deemed "clean" will be participating in the Olympics in PyeongChang, but under a neutral flag.

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