Sports Court Lifts Lifetime Olympic Bans For 39 Russians


Twenty-eight Russian athletes have had their Olympic doping bans overturned and results from the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi reinstated after their appeals were upheld by sport's highest tribunal on Thursday.

Those cleared to compete in this month's Pyeongchang Winter Games (Feb. 9 - 25) may still not take up their places.

Eleven other athletes were confirmed by the CAS to have committed doping violations and their appeals denied.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said there was insufficient evidence of anti-doping violations against the athletes, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said they would not necessarily be invited to the Pyeongchang Games this month. Life bans for another 11 athletes were replaced by access to the 2018 Games.

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Russian Federation has repeatedly denied any state involvement in state-sponsored doping.

Those whose results have been reinstated at the Sochi 2014 Olympics include skeleton gold medalist Alexander Tretiakov and cross-country ski gold medalist Alexander Legkov.

Moscow, Feb 1 Russian Federation today welcomed a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to lift bans on 28 of its athletes accused of doping, and said that its efforts to defend its rights were paying off.

Russia are banned from Pyeongchang over the doping scandal but 169 Russian competitors have been cleared to take part as neutrals.

However, according to the CAS statement, the court "unanimously found that the evidence put forward by the International Olympic Committee in relation to this matter did not have the same weight in each individual case".

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The IOC warned that "this may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping", saying it was considering an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

"Not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation", the organization stressed.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Russian deputy prime minister in charge of sport said the Lausanne-based court finding proved Moscow did not have a vast state-sponsored system of doping in place, contrary to the McLaren report.

CAS also partially upheld appeals for 11 of them, but only lifted their lifetime bans, and continued to prevent them from taking part in Pyeongchang.

The ruling provided "a very small measure of punishment for some athletes but a complete "get-out-of-jail-free card" for most", lawyer Jim Walden said.

'It's also meaningful that we were able to come back with North Korean athletes on the same plane'.

The Russian team initially won 33 medals in Sochi, including 13 golds, to put it ahead of Norway and Canada but they slipped to fourth after the IOC-imposed sanctions.

On January 31, Putin said the IOC's decision to ban Russia from the Olympics amounted to an "outside attack" on Russian sports.

The 39 appeals were heard in two batches in Geneva last week, with all but two athletes attending in person. They would compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" - with no use of the Russian flag or national anthem permitted.