CAS overturns Russian athletes' lifetime Olympic bans

Venues And Townscape Ahead Of Pyeong Chang 2018 Winter Olympic Games

GENEVA (AP) - No longer disqualified from the Olympics, the 28 Russian athletes who won their doping appeal cases Thursday could still be blocked from competing at this month's Pyeongchang Games.

However, some evidence of organized Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Games was accepted by the CAS judges, who maintained the disqualifications of a further 11 Russian athletes.

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Pozdnyakov says the 15 he wants to send to Pyeongchang include athletes such as skeleton gold medallist Alexander Tretiakov and cross-country skiing gold medallist Alexander Legkov.

169 Russian athletes have already been cleared to compete at the Pyeongchang Games later this month.

It concluded Russian athletes benefited from a state-sponsored doping programme between 2011 and 2015, speaking of "a cover-up that evolved from uncontrolled chaos to an institutionalised and disciplined medal-winning conspiracy".

"More than 80 percent of the athletes in this pool did not compete at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014".

"One would think that the IOC, which is supposed to enshrine the Olympic spirit, should have said "We are glad that another 28 athletes can compete in the Olympics", said Valentina Matviyenko.

Besides criticizing "Russia's unprecedented attack on fair play", USADA chief executive Travis Tygart says in a statement the IOC waited too long before issuing bans late a year ago and that "slamming dozens of cases through the process on the eve of the Olympic Games has not served justice and as such the integrity of the games has been sabotaged".

"This information about the CAS decision regarding our athletes confirms that active efforts to protect their rights in courts and in other ways are justified, they can be effective and they must continue", Peskov said".

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Russia was also banned from the Paralympics, but will have 30 to 35 Russians athletes compete in five sporting events.

"This shows that this is a new generation of Russian athletes", the International Olympic Committee said in a statement.

The athletes were also declared ineligible to participate in any capacity in all subsequent editions of the Olympic Games.

"It is necessary to do everything you said as soon as possible to make sure that fully vindicated athletes can take advantage of the opportunities opened up by this court judgement", the TASS news agency quoted Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as saying after a cabinet meeting Friday (NZ time).

Although no longer banned, the 28 athletes can not be sure to be competing in South Korea, says the International Olympic Committee in a statement issued on the CAS decision, regretting that the systemic violations found in 11 of the cases examined where not taken into consideration for the rest.

"Slamming dozens of cases through the process on the eve of the Olympic Games has not served justice and as such the integrity of the Games has been sabotaged".

"The CAS required an even higher threshold on the necessary level of evidence than the Oswald Commission and former CAS decisions", the International Olympic Committee said Thursday. "But the most important thing is that athletes have been exonerated".

Several big-name athletes who wanted to represent Russian Federation were shut out of the Winter Olympics, including six-time Olympic gold medalist Viktor Ahn.

The IOC says it could challenge the CAS rulings at Switzerland's supreme court.

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