CAS rejects Russian bid to participate in Olympic Games
By Scott Reid
GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed an appeal by banned six-time Olympic short track speedskating champion Viktor Ahn and other Russian athletes and coaches seeking to take part in the Olympic Games.
The CAS decision came just hours before the Games’ opening ceremony later Friday night and avoided a showdown between the International Olympic Committee and CAS over the participation of the banned Russian athletes in South Korea the next two weeks.
“We welcome this decision which supports the fight against doping and brings clarity for all athletes,” the IOC said Friday.
A cloud of uncertainty had hovered over the final days of the run-up to the Games after CAS overturned last week an IOC decision in December to ban 28 Russian athletes for life and strip them of their results at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi after an IOC investigation showed the athletes took part in a widespread doping system orchestrated and financed by the highest level of Russian sport.
In two appeals to CAS this week 45 Russian athletes and two coaches asked the Switzerland-based tribunal to overturn the IOC decision not to invite them to the Olympic Games. One-hundred-sixty-nine Russian athletes will compete in Pyeongchang under the banner of “Olympic Athletes from Russia” after they passed an IOC vetting process that was a requirement for their participation in South Korea. The return of the Seoul-born Ahn had been one of the most anticipated events of the Games before the IOC ban.
IOC president Thomas Bach and other top IOC officials criticized the CAS decision this week but would not say what action they would take if the tribunal overturned the bans.
Instead a three-member panel led by Canada’s Carol Roberts rejected both appeals.
“In its decisions, the CAS arbitrators have considered that the process created by the […]