Court rules against late Russian Games appeal
FORTY-SEVEN Russians implicated in doping lost a lastminute court bid to take part in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics yesterday, just hours before the opening ceremony.
The applicants, who included Korean-born speed skater Victor An, had asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn an International Olympic Committee decision not to invite them to South Korea.
“The applications filed by Russian athletes and coaches have been dismissed,” CAS secretary-general Matthieu Reeb told a packed news conference.
The IOC was swift to wel- come the decision, saying the ruling “supports the fight against doping and brings clarity for all athletes”.
The Russian situation has proved highly contentious in the build-up to PyeongChang, after their team was banned but a certain number of “clean” Russian athletes were allowed to take part as neutrals.
Fifteen of those who lost their bids yesterday were among a group of 28 who controversially had life bans from the Olympics overturned last week by CAS, which cited insufficient evidence.
The other 32, including An, biathlon gold medallist Anton Shipulin and Sergei Ustyugov, a cross-country skiing world champion, were also omitted from the list of Russians invited to PyeongChang.
“In its decisions, the CAS arbitrators have considered that the process created by the IOC to establish an invitation list of Russian athletes to com- pete as Olympic Athletes from Russia could not be described as a sanction but rather as an eligibility decision,” Reeb said.
However, the CAS decision may not be the end of the matter. A source close to the IOC said the 47 Russians had also lodged a case with a Swiss civil court in Lausanne.