A bevy of Russian athletes who filed appeals to compete in the PyeongChang Olympics will not be allowed to participate.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced the decision Friday morning in PyeongChang, a mere nine hours ahead of the opening ceremony. A previous CAS ruling, which cited insufficient evidence, led to the International Olympic Committee overturning doping bans for 28 Russian athletes just last week.
Those athletes sought permission from the IOC to compete in South Korea. The CAS, which serves as an arbiter for Olympic sports, decided otherwise. In all, 45 Russian athletes and two coaches who filed appeals will be forbidden to participate.
The legal dispute boiled down to this: the International Olympic Committee believed that because it had barred Russia’s Olympic Committee from the PyeongChang Games for a systematic doping program, it was entitled to invite and exclude any Russian athletes and coaches; the Russian athletes, meanwhile, contended that they should be allowed to participate after the appeals court ruled last week there was insufficient evidence to link each of them to Russia’s cheating.
Matthieu Reeb, the court’s secretary general, said the applicants “did not demonstrate that the manner of two special commissions established was carried out in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner.”
Russia was previously banned from competition by the IOC due to widespread doping violations. However, 169 athletes were granted permission to compete — as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” — under a neutral flag in 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 compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) could not be described as a sanction but rather as an eligibility decision,” the court said in a statement.
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