Fifteenth Russians not invited to Olympics despite doping ban repeal

IOC chief urges sports court reform after Russia bans lifted

IOC chief urges sports court reform after Russia bans lifted

CAS last week ruled there was "insufficient evidence" of anti-doping violations against 28 Russian athletes, who had also appealed their International Olympic Committee sanctions, and cleared them to compete.

The ruling by the sports court was a blow to the International Olympic Committee and has shifted some of the focus away from Friday's opening of the games in frigid South Korea with about 3,000 athletes participating.

The IOC has invited only 169 carefully screened Russian athletes who will compete as independents after the nation was banned over the Sochi 2014 doping scandal from the Games starting this week.

They will wear a uniform with that name on it, and the Olympic anthem will be played at any medal ceremonies for Russian athletes.

The court was also holding a separate hearing in a case involving 32 Russian athletes who appealed against their exclusion from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

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The IOC also banned 43 Russians for life from the Olympics following a further inquiry.

"The negotiations lasted until the last minutes before the opening ceremony".

However, Russian athletes who can prove they are clean will be invited to compete under a neutral flag, and will be known as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR). For women's ice hockey, the North will form a joint team with the South.

The IOC's executive director for the Olympic Games, Christophe Dubi, told reporters they are taking no risks in their bid to contain the outbreak to prevent it from disrupting athletes and spectators. According to The New York Times, anti-doping officials say that, given the breadth of Russia's state-engineered cheating, Russian athletes seeking entrance to Pyeongchang Games should have a minimum of a year of rigorous drug testing outside of Russia.

On Tuesday, 32 banned Russian athletes, including Sochi Olympic gol medalists Viktor Ahn and Anton Shipulin, filed a lawsuit with the Ad Hoc Division of CAS to challenge the decision, insisting that it had been made on discriminatory grounds. Russian Federation said it wanted to send 15 of the 28 to Pyeongchang, including gold medal-winning skeleton slider Alexander Tretiakov and cross-country skiing gold medalist Alexander Legkov.

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Russian Federation slammed the US report, saying it was founded on false assumptions about Moscow's intentions and contained worrying modernization plans.

"We are extremely disappointed with this CAS decision", Bach said.

But anti-doping officials from 20 countries have concerns about the vetting of Russian athletes, a process they say has been opaque.

The games in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang will start on Friday and last through February 25. "This was an unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympic Games and sport", IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.

The battle to compete may not be over even if the court upholds the appeals.

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