Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Olympics: Banned Russians' Winter Games plea

Olympics: Banned Russians' Winter Games plea

In total, 47 Russian athletes and coaches are now appealing their exclusion before CAS, who could return a decision as late as Friday morning, just hours before the opening ceremony of PyeongChang 2018.

The International Olympic Committee expects 168 Russian athletes to compete under the neutral banner of "Olympic Athletes From Russia".

Other athletes whose cases are to be heard include Viktor Ahn, a six-time Olympic gold medalist in short-track speedskating, and Alexander Legkov, a cross-country skiing gold medalist.

The number of Russians at Pyeongchang now stands at 167 "clean" athletes, but on Tuesday CAS said that Korean-born speed skater Victor An and 31 other Russian athletes had launched a last-ditch appeal against their suspensions.

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The late appeal will raise hopes that Ahn, who switched allegiance to Russian Federation in 2011 after falling out with South Korea's skating authorities, can make an emotional end to his Olympic career in his native country.

The CAS ruling on Thursday overturned doping bans on 28 Russians, citing insufficient evidence.

The IOC hasn't said why any of the individual Russians weren't invited, but has said it used a newly available database detailing past doping when it decided who should be eligible. Russian government officials are forbidden to attend, the Russian flag will not be displayed at the opening ceremony and the anthem will not sound. Russia's deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, a former Russian sports minister now serving a life suspension from the Olympics, said Russia would fight to allow the athletes to compete in Pyeongchang.

In a statement released Monday, the IOC says its Invitation Review Panel ruled unanimously to decline requests for Olympic invitations for a list of 15 athletes and coaches submitted by the Russian Olympic Committee.

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We are confident with the extremely large amount of work.that has gone into making sure that there will be a path for clean athletes to compete at these Games.

Russia, with its highly orchestrated, clandestine doping programme in full swing, topped the medals table at their home Sochi Games four years ago.

Today, Back said of the CAS cases and the tardiness of a process being called into question: "The timing there was not in our hands". If they win, it would force the International Olympic Committee to accept athletes it considers to be linked to doping offenses.

Many athletes have called for Russians to be banned from global competition after a 2015 report contained evidence of state-backed, systematic doping in athletics.

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