Olympics: Pyeongchang athletes' villages open

Modesto Morganelli
Febbraio 1, 2018

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) took the decision this morning, ruling that there was "insufficient evidence" that the athletes had benefited from a system of state-sponsored doping in Sochi.

Eleven more Russians were ruled to have been guilty of doping but had lifetime bans imposed by an International Olympic Committee disciplinary panel two months ago cut to a ban only from the Pyeongchang Games, which open next week.

The CAS found that while there had been doping at the Sochi Olympics, the evidence put forward by the International Olympic Committee against these 28 individual athletes was "insufficient" to establish they had committed a doping violation.

They were also declared "ineligible" for the upcoming PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, but spared a life-ban from all Games. CAS confirmed that bobsledder Alexander Zubkov's results had been cancelled, while rulings on the appeals of biathletes Olga Zaytseva, Olga Vilukhina and Yana Romanova are still pending.

As a result it banned Russia from competing in Pyeongchang, but 169 Russians have since been invited to take part as neutrals.

"This may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping".

Russian athletes took home 33 medals at the Sochi Games, including 13 gold, 11 silver and 9 bronze.

Cas said that in 28 cases evidence was "insufficient" to prove doping.

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 previous year 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".

"All athletes were acquitted of charges in cases on doping violations at the Sochi Games", Kolobkov said in a statement.

The CAS decision was announced via a press release and among those successful at appeal are men's Olympic skeleton champion Aleksander Tretiakov, the current women's European and World Cup skeleton champion Elena Nikitina and Olympic cross-country gold medalist Alexander Legkov.

CAS said its mandate was "not to determine generally whether there was an organised scheme allowing the manipulation of doping control samples ... but was strictly limited to dealing with 39 individual cases and to assess the evidence applicable to each athlete on an individual basis".

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

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko says the country plans to file more legal action to ensure athletes who won their doping appeals can compete at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The individual results that they achieved at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi have been reinstated.

Russian athletes won't be allowed to display the flag in Pyeongchang, or accept Russian flags offered by fans.

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