Russian athletes appeal Olympic ban in late push to compete

Frederick Owens
February 9, 2018

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has defended the organization's handling of the Russian Federation doping scandal ahead of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

The IOC's disciplinary commission banned 43 Russian athletes for life and disqualified all Russians from competing at the Pyeongchang Games over a state-sponsored doping conspiracy.

Coates says "32 Russian athletes have appealed to Swiss courts and CAS again" after the International Olympic Committee invited 169 Russians to Pyeongchang but left out some top medal hopes.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says six-time Olympic gold medalist Viktor Ahn is among 32 Russian athletes who have filed appeals seeking spots at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The ruling by the sports court was a blow to the International Olympic Committee and has shifted some of the focus away from Friday's opening of the Games in frigid South Korea with around 3,000 athletes participating.

They include Pavel Kulizhinikov, a former world champion in short-track speed skating who was banned from 2012 through 2014 after testing positive for the banned substance methylhexanamine.

The 13 athletes and two coaches were initially blacklisted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which said they were not "clean".

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They will wear a uniform with that name on it, and the Olympic anthem will be played at any medal ceremonies for Russian athletes.

CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb told reporters that the hearings would resume at 12.00 noon (0300 GMT) on Thursday and a final decision could be made by the end of that day.

Moon said that the PyeongChang Olympics is set to open thanks to efforts by the IOC which has repeatedly confirmed that dialogue and peace coincide with the Olympic spirit.

He was tasked to review the individual cases of each athlete implicated in the report.

Even if the athletes' appeal was successful it was highly unlikely for any of them to compete in South Korea.

"These athletes and many million other people, they will believe in this gesture and the athletes are going to show it", said Bach, adding he knew the feeling of division having competed as a fencer at the 1976 Summer Olympics for what was then West Germany.

Russia escaped a blanket ban at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and there, too, tensions arose between the Russians and other competitors who branded them cheats.

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