Appeals by 45 Russian athletes against Olympic bans rejected - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Appeals by 45 Russian athletes against Olympic bans rejected

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share
(Grigory Dukor/Pool Photo via AP, File).Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking during a meeting with the Russian athletes who will take part in the upcoming 2018 Pyeonchang Olympics. (Grigory Dukor/Pool Photo via AP, File).Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking during a meeting with the Russian athletes who will take part in the upcoming 2018 Pyeonchang Olympics.

By JAMES ELLINGWORTH
AP Sports Writer

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) - Russia's desperate attempt to get 45 banned athletes - including several medal favorites - into the Pyeongchang Olympics failed just hours before Friday's opening ceremony.

The International Olympic Committee had banned Russia because of a massive doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games, but gave individual athletes the chance to apply for admission to compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia." There were 168 Russians who passed the vetting process. Dozens more filed appeals with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

On Friday, the court upheld the IOC's right to decide who can compete.

Anti-doping officials praised the ruling, which is a heavy blow to Russian medal chances.

"That's it. The story is over," Russian delegation spokesman Konstantin Vybornov said. Shamil Tarpishchev, a Russian member of the IOC, said the CAS ruling may have been legally correct but he disagreed with the spirit of the ruling.

After two days of hearings, the CAS panel ruled that the commissions which evaluated whether Russian applicants were eligible did not act in a "discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner."

CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb said the IOC process "could not be described as a sanction but rather as an eligibility decision."

Olympic and World Anti-Doping Agency officials welcomed the ruling, with the IOC saying the decision "supports the fight against doping and brings clarity for all athletes."

Among those excluded are six-time gold medalist Viktor Ahn, the short track speedskater whose return to his native South Korea for the Olympics had been eagerly anticipated by local fans.

Also out are cross-country skiing gold medalist Alexander Legkov and skeleton gold medalist Alexander Tretiakov, as well as potential medal contenders in biathlon, luge and bobsled.

Three former NHL players - Sergei Plotnikov, Anton Belov and Valeri Nichushkin - also lost appeals, though it was widely considered unlikely they would have played even if they had been successful because the Russian roster is already full.

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart said the decision was "a small glimmer of hope in an otherwise dark and sordid affair."

In a telephone interview, WADA president Craig Reedie told The Associated Press: "I am delighted at the decision and the way they expressed it."

The CAS panel has "clearly understood that there was systemic manipulation of the anti-doping process," Reedie said. "Athletes can get their heads down and go. This particular issue is behind us."

The IOC's vetting process was designed to exclude Russian athletes from the games if IOC officials weren't sure they were clean.

The "Olympic Athletes from Russia" will compete in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag in a decision designed to balance the rights of individual athletes with the need for a strong deterrent to doping.

The Russians wore grey jackets with white scarves at the opening ceremony, and were carrying the Olympic flag.

In Russia, the lower house of Russian parliament - the State Duma - issued a statement deploring the CAS verdict as a reflection of "crude pressure and political struggle in a sports field defying Olympic principles."

The IOC has refused to comment on individual Russian athletes but says it decided who to exclude using a newly obtained Moscow laboratory database with evidence of past doping offenses.

It refused to clear some Russians even after their disqualifications from the 2014 Olympics were lifted by CAS last week.

Stephen Hess, an international sports lawyer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said the decision was a victory for the IOC.

"There is no absolute right to get an invitation from the IOC to come to the Olympics," Hess said. "That was within the IOC's discretion. If Russia had an Olympic team, CAS might have said: 'IOC, the Russians can put them on their own team. You can't keep them out.' But Russia doesn't have an Olympic team."

Jim Walden, the lawyer for Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, renewed calls for IOC President Thomas Bach to resign "for the sake of the Olympic ideal."

Walden has accused the IOC and CAS of being "complicit in enabling Russian doping" for not implementing strong punishments for Russian athletes, including a blanket ban.

Friday's verdict, he said, is "a small semblance of justice for clean athletes."

Angela Ruggiero of the IOC athletes' commission said the decision sent a message to athletes that "you should be incredibly confident that every athlete, including the Olympic Athletes from Russia, have had to clear incredibly high hurdles to get here."

The barred Russian athletes, however, are still considering their legal options.

Schellenberg Wittmer, from the Swiss law firm representing the Russian athletes, said "our clients consider - rightly so - that the decisions are unfair and harmful ... their Olympic dreams have been shattered."

Other athletes welcomed the end to the saga.

"That is great news," said U.S. women's skeleton athlete Katie Uhlaender, who placed fourth in the Sochi Olympics - one spot behind bronze medalist Elena Nikitina, who was one of the 45 appealing her ban.

U.S. bobsledder Nick Cunningham said "If dirty athletes are taken out, then clean athletes will prevail. That's what I hope."

___

AP Sports Writers Stephen Wade, Tim Reynolds and Eddie Pells contributed to this report.

___

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • Florida executes inmate; Texas, Alabama executions halted

    Florida executes inmate; Texas, Alabama executions halted

    Thursday, February 22 2018 1:34 PM EST2018-02-22 18:34:58 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 1:37 AM EST2018-02-23 06:37:24 GMT
    (AP Photo/File). This photo combo shows death row immates, from left,  Thomas Whitaker from Texas, Doyle Lee Hamm from Alabama, and Eric Scott Branch from Florida. Executions are set for Alabama, Texas and Florida for the same night. If they are carrie...(AP Photo/File). This photo combo shows death row immates, from left, Thomas Whitaker from Texas, Doyle Lee Hamm from Alabama, and Eric Scott Branch from Florida. Executions are set for Alabama, Texas and Florida for the same night. If they are carrie...
    Executions are set for Alabama, Texas and Florida for the same night.More >>
    Executions are set for Alabama, Texas and Florida for the same night.More >>
  • California senator quits as Legislature grapples with #MeToo

    California senator quits as Legislature grapples with #MeToo

    Thursday, February 22 2018 2:43 AM EST2018-02-22 07:43:54 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 1:35 AM EST2018-02-23 06:35:13 GMT
    (AP Photo/Steve Yeater, File). FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2018, file photo, California state Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, announces that he will take a month-long leave of absence while an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him are c...(AP Photo/Steve Yeater, File). FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2018, file photo, California state Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, announces that he will take a month-long leave of absence while an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him are c...
    The California Senate is preparing to debate punishment for a lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct.More >>
    The California Senate is preparing to debate punishment for a lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct.More >>
  • Grand jury indicts Missouri governor who admitted affair

    Grand jury indicts Missouri governor who admitted affair

    Thursday, February 22 2018 5:35 PM EST2018-02-22 22:35:21 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 1:35 AM EST2018-02-23 06:35:05 GMT
    A St. Louis grand jury indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to the Republican's affair with a woman in 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)A St. Louis grand jury indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to the Republican's affair with a woman in 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

    A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to the Republican's affair with a woman in 2015.

    More >>

    A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to the Republican's affair with a woman in 2015.

    More >>
  • 2018 Winter Olympics2018 Winter OlympicsMore>>

  • At Olympics, omnipresent flags are a tricky political dance

    At Olympics, omnipresent flags are a tricky political dance

    Thursday, February 22 2018 5:18 AM EST2018-02-22 10:18:04 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 1:17 AM EST2018-02-23 06:17:21 GMT
    (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File). FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, members of the North Korean delegation wave flags at the women's slalom at Yongpyong alpine center at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. While in South Korea,...(AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File). FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, members of the North Korean delegation wave flags at the women's slalom at Yongpyong alpine center at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. While in South Korea,...
    Olympic organizers must carefully choreograph the political implications of the flags that represent each nation.More >>
    Olympic organizers must carefully choreograph the political implications of the flags that represent each nation.More >>
  • The Latest: South Korean curlers a global sensation

    The Latest: South Korean curlers a global sensation

    Thursday, February 22 2018 8:44 PM EST2018-02-23 01:44:26 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 12:58 AM EST2018-02-23 05:58:11 GMT
    (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue). Alina Zagitova of the Olympic Athletes of Russia performs during the women's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue). Alina Zagitova of the Olympic Athletes of Russia performs during the women's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018.

    The Russians have a good shot at winning their first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics when teenage figure skaters Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva take the ice for the women's free skate.

    More >>

    The Russians have a good shot at winning their first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics when teenage figure skaters Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva take the ice for the women's free skate.

    More >>
  • Unprepared and outclassed, North Korea wraps up Olympics

    Unprepared and outclassed, North Korea wraps up Olympics

    Thursday, February 22 2018 1:54 AM EST2018-02-22 06:54:05 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 12:48 AM EST2018-02-23 05:48:53 GMT
    Unprepared and outclassed, North Korea's 22 athletes wrap up their competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics without a medal _ or even a finish higher than 13th.More >>
    Unprepared and outclassed, North Korea's 22 athletes wrap up their competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics without a medal _ or even a finish higher than 13th.More >>
Powered by Frankly