CAS rejects appeal from six Russian athletes excluded from Olympics
The Court of Arbitration for Sport today rejected appeals from six Russian athletes that have not been invited to compete at the 2018 winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, but 45 others must wait until tomorrow, the day of the opening ceremony, before learning their fate.
CAS said it “lacked jurisdiction to deal with” the application filed by the six athletes, and another filed by seven Russian support staff.
The court is handling the cases of multiple Russian athletes, coaches and officials appealing against their exclusion from the winter Olympics by the International Olympic Committee in the wake of a high-profile doping scandal in the country centring on the 2014 games in Sochi.
The six athletes rejected included world champion speed skaters Denis Yuskov (pictured) and Pavel Kulizhnikov, plus others from biathlon and ski jumping.
The case is separate from that involving 45 Russian athletes and two coaches, which CAS has been hearing over the last two days. It is due to issue a ruling at 11am Korean time on Friday, nine hours before the opening ceremony.
Philippe Baertsch, a lawyer for the Russians, said: “We are hopeful that the panel will follow our argumentation and respect the rights of the athletes.”
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin, added that the CAS ruling “should be respected and complied with” by the IOC.
The group of athletes includes Viktor Ahn, the multiple Olympic speed skating champion, Sergei Ustyugo, a world cross country skiing champion, Anton Shipulin, who won an Olympic gold medal in biathlon four years ago, and three former NHL ice hockey players in Sergei Plotnikov, Anton Belov and Valeri Nichushkin.
On Monday, the IOC defied the suspended Russian Olympic Committee, and, by extension, CAS, by turning down the ROC’s request to allow 15 more Russians – 13 athletes and two coaches – to participate in the PyeongChang winter Olympics.
The 15 were among 28 Russians whose appeals against lifetime Olympic bans for alleged manipulation of doping samples at Sochi 2014 were upheld by CAS.
That stunning decision meant that lifetime Olympic bans imposed on the athletes by the IOC were lifted and their results from the Sochi 2014 games were reinstated.
The IOC invited 169 Russians (although one has withdrawn) to compete in the winter Olympics after ruling in December that selected ‘clean’ athletes could compete, but only under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’, wearing uniforms bearing this name, and competing under the Olympic flag, with the Olympic anthem to be played at any ceremony.
The IOC also suspended the ROC and excluded Vitaly Mutko, the former Russian sports minister, now deputy prime minister, from all future Olympic Games, as well as suspending Zhukov.
The Sochi 2014 winter Olympics have been the subject of a major investigation into an alleged doping programme in Russia involving over 1,000 athletes competing in summer, winter and Paralympic sports (including non-Olympic sports).
The athletes were involved in, or benefited from, manipulations to conceal positive tests between 2011 and 2015, according to the independent McLaren report, commissioned by WADA.