Russians lose late court bid to compete at Olympics

Florence Fletcher
February 10, 2018

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, which begin later this week.

The CAS ruling, announced just hours before tonight's Opening Ceremony, prohibits the likes of six-time Olympic short-track speed skating gold medallist Viktor Ahn, Sergei Ustyugov and Anton Shipulin, the world champions in cross-country and biathlon respectively, from competing. Russia's Olympic committee is officially barred form the Games due to a widespread doping controversy, but athletes that the IOC have determined to be clean are participating under the banner of "Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation".

They can't wear their country's colors (hence the drab, neutral-colored uniforms), they can't display the Russian flag (why they marched under a neutral flag with just the Olympics logo on it), and any medals they win won't go toward Russia's medal count in the history books.

But the body argued that it could find nothing in the International Olympic Committee process that was "discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair".

More than 150 Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation are now listed on the official Pyeongchang Games website.

The verbal spat underscores tensions over the inclusion of Russian athletes at the Games amid a doping controversy.

"Unfortunately, this is a disaster for the individual athletes; it is also a disaster for the Olympic movement, which is explicitly against national discrimination", Sterling told RT.

Athletes from around the globe will be celebrating the opening of the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games as most of us are getting out of bed.

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Russian Federation was barred from the Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following an investigation into state-sponsored doping.

"The message we're sending is the decision has been made and you should be satisfied that every athlete, including the Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation, have had to clear the same high hurdle", she added.

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

The IOC is considering an appeal against that decision.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is banned by the IOC, railed against the decision and said CAS had come under "pressure" from the Olympic Committee.

The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency is blaming underfunding for sports seemingly losing ground to doping and cheating. Thus, we call for stronger leadership from sport to protect clean athletes and their right to doping-free sport. Mitchell said. "However, an appeals panel upheld Bailey's challenge against that ban after describing the nature of his anti-doping violation as "truly exceptional".Bailey submitted a clean test shortly afterwards and the decision of the appeals panel is correct, but it represents a major landmark - the first case in the United Kingdom where an athlete has not been banned for refusing to take a drugs test". If you're not a clean athlete then you should not compete. Having not heard any evidence to establish the guilt of several Russian athletes, the CAS sustained their appeals.

In the Bailey case, the former England player successfully overturned a provisional playing ban he had been issued with for refusing to take a drugs test.

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