Panel Dismisses 47 Russians' Appeal To Be Allowed Into Winter Olympics

Matt Hamilton

But the ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport could come as late as Friday, just hours before the Olympics open. Among the athletes are 168 Russians who are being forced to compete under the neutral banner of "Olympic Athletes from Russia" as punishment for doping in Sochi in 2014.

"We welcome the decision, it has been taken in a spirit of fighting against doping and makes it clear for remaining athletes", the statement said.

Breaking the rules could mean the IOC scraps its plan for Russian Federation to march under its own flag at the closing ceremony on February 25 - a symbolic return to the Olympic movement after almost three months. They also looked into the cases of 32 athletes who had never been suspected of violating anti-doping rules.

"He said the delegation had been told it "could be Canada" but it made a decision 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'".

"You have to read attentively the decision of the IOC", Pozdnyakov explained, going through the ins-and-outs of the ruling.

The IOC, however, has refused to invite them, noting there was evidence about the athletes that had not been available to the IOC commission that had investigated them. "But (there's) nothing about the vice president or other staff members of the Russian Olympic Committee".

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The IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency welcomed the decision.

It spares the International Olympic Committee further embarrassment over the controversial saga of Russian participation in these Games.

The applicants, who included Korean-born speed skater Victor An, had asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn an International Olympic Committee decision not to invite them to South Korea.

Among the athletes who were hoping to gatecrash the Olympics by forcing an invite through CAS were Victor Ahn and and Elena Nikitina.

It also banned dozens of athletes from the Games for life and stripped their Sochi Games medals following several investigations into the doping affair.

The Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR) will compete under the Olympic flag and the Olympic anthem will be played at any medal ceremonies they feature in.

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