Neutral Russians positive sign for anti-doping — IOC

Just hours before Opening Ceremony, the CAS on Thursday night (San Diego time) denied an appeal by 47 Russian athletes and coaches demanding admission into the Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

Although Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics, the IOC said athletes who could prove they weren't doping could compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia", or OAR.

Russian Federation topped the medal table after the 2014 Winter Olympics on its home turf in Sochi.

Short track speed skater Semen Elistratov, an Olympic Athlete from Russia, dedicated his bronze medal in the 1500m on Saturday to the Russians who were barred from competing at the Pyeongchang Games.

Since the ban, 169 Russian athletes have been cleared by the IOC to compete in all 15 of this year's events under the Olympic flag-more than Team Germany (157) and host South Korea (145).

Many Russians had their appeals upheld at CAS last week but the International Olympic Committee refused to invite them, saying there was enough evidence or strong suspicion to exclude them.

A spokesman for the 168-strong, neutral Russian team, the "Olympic Athletes from Russia", declined to comment when approached by AFP. But a certain number of "clean" Russian athletes were allowed to take part as neutrals.

"[The athletes] can file an action to set aside the CAS Ad hoc Division awards and seek an injunction ordering the International Olympic Committee to invite them as urgent provisional measures pending the determination of the action to set aside", Rigozzi said.

So what's up with all those "OAR" athletes you'll see during this year's Winter Olympics? "We're not particularly happy with the thought of having athletes that we knew were not clean having the opportunity to compete".

The IOC is refusing to invite 13 of the 28 athletes that are still active to Pyeongchang.

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

It also perhaps puts onto the backburner until the close of the Games the Russian doping matter- or then again, maybe not, given the extraordinary emotion the Russian doping matter has elicited.

"The panel also concluded that there was no evidence (they) improperly exercised their discretion".

The court had overturned lifetime bans from 28 athletes this week, each of which had first suffered the penalty in 2014 during the Sochi Olympics.

The governing body said many factors had been taken into consideration in setting the times, with the final decision made by the IOC Executive Board based on proposals from the local organising committee and consultations with the global sport federations.

More than 2,900 athletes are competing in PyeongChang.

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