A last-chance bid by 45 Russian athletes who claimed they were wrongfully banned from the Winter Olympics has been turned down.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed the athlete appeals in a ruling issued on Friday morning. Athletes from Russia have been generally banned from the Winter Olympics, but some are appearing as “neutral” athletes, which means they will not be under the Russian flag nor have its anthem played if they win. The 45 athletes in the court decision had claimed the International Olympic Committee had wrongly excluded them from competing as neutrals.
The CAS ruling claimed the IOC decision was a matter of eligibility for the games and not a sanction, and the athletes did not show that their applications were unfairly discriminated against.
“We welcome this decision which supports the fight against doping and brings clarity for all athletes,” the IOC said in a statement.
The ICO decided in December to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee because of widespread doping allegations, but allowed certain individuals to compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” A panel reviewed anti-doping information and cleared 389 athletes, with the IOC then inviting 169 of them.
Russia appealed on behalf of 32 non-invited athletes, including six-time gold medalist speedskater Viktor Ahn and former NHL players Anton Belov, Valeri Nichushkin and Sergei Plotnikov.
Another 13 athletes and two coaches who saw their individual sanctions overturned by CAS earlier this month also appealed to compete here.