Olympic Ban Of Cleared Russian Athletes Is Lawless

The International Olympic Committee review panel declined a request for 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, cleared of doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to attend the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the Euronews has reported.

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.

How many independent Russian athletes will compete at Pyeongchang is still unclear as the CAS continues to hear and deliberate the appeals of 47 individuals demanding to be reinstated from doping bans stemming from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The number of OAR athletes could increase, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport announcing, as the International Olympic Committee session was ongoing, that 32 Russian athletes have begun a procedure against the decision not to invite them to the Pyeongchang Games.

Among the athletes who have not been invited are the speed skater Viktor Ahn, six times Olympic champion; the biathlete Anton Shipulin, one of the best in the world; the long-distance skater Sergey Ustyugov, and the skater Ksenia Stolbova, Olympic runner-up by pairs in 2014.

At the opening ceremony of the Winter Games on February 9, they will march under the Olympic flag and wear red and grey tracksuits with an "Olympic Athlete from Russia" emblem.

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On February 6, a similar appeal was made to the court by 32 other banned Russian athletes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said that the ban was humiliating, but stopped short of calling for a boycott despite other officials saying their national athletes should not compete. Investigations also found evidence that workers in Russian labs tampered with samples to keep the countrys athletes from failing drug tests.

CAS said a hearing was likely to be held on Wednesday, two days before the opening ceremony of the Games.

The IOC expects 168 Russian athletes to compete under the neutral banner of "Olympic Athletes from Russia".

"First of all we don't even know if it is a coach", Eric Myles, COC Executive Director of Sport, told reporters. It later said that 169 athletes who had proved they were clean would be allowed to compete. "If their appeals are upheld, their participation will be granted and it will be the end, I think".

  • Adam Floyd