Eighty Russians to participate in opening ceremony of 2018 Olympics

A vetting process was created to exclude Russian athletes from the Games if International Olympic Committee officials weren't sure they were clean, even if they hadn't been banned for doping.

In the video, which was uploaded on YouTube on February 7, but reportedly was filmed in January, the organizers said they had orchestrated the light show in front of the headquarters of WADA in response to "dastardly acts of WADA and the IOC [International Olympic Committee]" towards Russian athletes who have been barred from the 2018 PyeongChang Games.

Or so claims a representative of the Olympic Athletes from Russia, which is definitely not the same as the Russian Olympic team, despite its members having arrived carrying suitcases with the word "RUSSIA" stamped on them.

If figure skater Ksenia Stolbova is invited, she could compete as soon as Friday morning in the pairs short program component of the team event.

The IOC's position: for sure yes, because taking part in the Games is a "privilege", and just because you're not guilty per CAS that does not make you "innocent".

The IOC's decision wasn't to have a blanket ban on all the athletes.

Nikitina told TASS: "I'm very disappointed".

An, who has been competing for Russian Federation since 2011, won three goal medals at the Sochi 2014.

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".

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The IOC confirmed that only athletes who have "fulfilled the pre-games testing requirements", including the IRP's criteria, "as well as the required reanalysis from stored samples", would be allowed to compete at the Games.

The CAS panel determined the Russian applicants did not demonstrate that the two IOC special commissions - the invitation review panel and the Olympic Athlete from Russia implementation group - carried out their evaluations in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner.

The IOC had been criticised in 2016 for not banning Russian from the Rio de Janeiro Games following the information provided by three whistleblowers who essentially exposed Russian doping.

The hopes of 47 Russian athletes and coaches were dashed merely hours before the Winter Olympics began, when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) denied their appeal to participate in the competitions.

CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb read from a statement and declined to take questions, saying the International Olympic Committee process "could not be described as a sanction but rather as an eligibility decision". "And begging for invitations all the time is beyond reasonable", he said.

The ruling obviously avoids what would have been the tumult if not chaos of integrating some number - up to 47 - more "Olympic Athletes from Russia" into the delegation here even as the Games were getting underway, a process that doubtlessly would have drawn, and appropriately, worldwide condemnation.

"Today's decision by the CAS.is a small semblance of justice for clean athletes".

USA athletes also welcomed the end to uncertainty around the participation of some Russian athletes.

US bobsledder Nick Cunningham said he has tried to not focus on the will-they-or-won't-they drama surrounding the Russians. I was hoping that CAS would take our side.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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