CAS to hear last-ditch Winter Olympics plea by 32 Russian athletes

Thursday, 08 Feb, 2018

First Vice President of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdniakov has spoken highly of efforts made by the Organising Committee of the PyeongChang 2018 Games, which has been able to create a comfortable environment for Russian athletes.

The IOC said earlier on Monday that 15 Russian athletes and coaches who had their lifetime bans overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport will not be invited to this month's Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Russia's suspension follows a highly orchestrated plot culminating during its hosting of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, where tainted samples were switched through a hole in the anti-doping laboratory's wall.

The IOC in December determined that Russian athletes who proved they were clean would be allowed to compete as neutrals in the Games. Hundreds more have been barred, and many have gone to court seeking entry and causing last-minute chaos.

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.

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. Fearing the norovirus and the cold, Japanese athletes did not attend Wednesday's ceremony welcoming them to the athletes village.

CAS's decision was warmly welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. In its surprise ruling, the world's top sports tribunal cleared 28 Russian athletes of doping allegations and reinstated their status to compete.

"They request that CAS overturn the IOC decision and allow them to participate in these games as Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation", the CAS said in the statement.

It said the panel took into account extra information about the athletes sent to it by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which had "raised suspicion about the integrity of these athletes".

The IOC set Beijing 2022 as an example to carry out the "New Norm" as Beijing 2022 will repurpose a number of venues from the 2008 Olympic Games for the Winter Games in 2022.

Russian officials and athletes have said they're also planning more legal action. However, this is subject to any doping violations found.

The committee added: "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".