Russian Athletes Appeal To Participate In Pyeongchang Game Rejected By Panel

32 Russians appeal to CAS seeking Olympic spots

Russia said on Friday the Court of Arbitration for Sport was under pressure from Olympic officials when it rejected a last-minute bid from 47 Russian athletes to take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The 47 athletes were asked to be invited to the games despite being left off from the list by the International Olympics committee (IOC) panel, which was set up to determine the eligibility of the athletes after the doping scandal.

The IOC in December banned Russian Federation from the Games over doping in the country that included massive manipulation of doping samples at the Sochi Olympics and more than 1,000 athletes across several sports.

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

Forty-five Russian athletes will have to wait until Friday, the opening day of the Pyeongchang Olympics, to find out if they can compete. Neither athlete has previously served a doping ban. The IOC is also refusing to invite 13 of those that are still active.

Monday's IOC decision was taken after a special panel "unanimously recommended that the IOC not extend an invitation" to the 15 individuals, and IOC president Thomas Bach voiced concerns about the CAS decision.

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"He said the delegation had been told it "could be Canada" but it chose to take the matter seriously, sending a note to Canadian team members on expected behaviour at the Games and telling the Russians: "'Hey sorry, if it happens'". In attendance with Baertsch for that hearing were Elena Nikitina, the 2014 bronze medalist in women's skeleton, and Tatiana Ivanova, a luger who won silver in the team event in 2014.

A picture of a jubilant short-track speed skater Viktor Ahn, a six-time Olympic gold medallist, crossing the finish line first at the Sochi Games found place. If they win, it would force the International Olympic Committee to accept athletes it considers to be linked to doping offenses. With 168 IOC-approved athletes, it's already one of the biggest teams in Pyeongchang.

Sergei Parkhomenko, the general secretary of the Russian Bobsled Federation, said athletes from his team were training in Siberia, ready to fly to South Korea at a moment's notice if CAS gives them the green light.

They said the decision was not carried out "in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner". "If there's a positive ruling, they'll fly in".

Three former National Hockey League 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. Some are reportedly no longer in training, while others may not be included on full rosters in sports like hockey.

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