Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Turns Out the Olympic Ban on Russia Was Pretty Much a Joke

Sochi Winter Olympics Getty Images What Country Is 'OAR' In The Olympics?
Ellis Copeland | 11 February, 2018, 03:23

The Court of Arbitration for Sport has affirmed a decision that 47 Russian athletes and coaches should not be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics, weighing in on the matter with just hours to go before Pyeongchang holds its opening ceremony for almost 3,000 athletes from around the world.

Athletes from Russia sported grey jackets and denim trousers, and walked out under the Olympic flag, instead of a Russian one, during arguably the most important event of any year's games.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), whose investigation concluded that Russian Federation ran a state-run doping scheme, leading to the Olympic team's ban, said it welcomed the sport court's decision.

But on Monday, the International Olympic Committee invitation review panel decided not to invite 13 Russian athletes and two coaches cleared by CAS to the PyeongChang Winter Games.

The Russians competing in Pyeongchang won seven medals at the previous games in 2014 in the southern Russian city of Sochi, including four golds.

The announcement, delivered by CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb, means athletes such as Olympic skeleton champion Alexander Tretiakov and Olympic cross-country skiing gold medallist Alexander Legkov are barred from participating at Pyeongchang 2018. It also banned them for life from the Olympics.

Barely two weeks before the Rio Olympics, Canadian law professor Richard McLaren releases an explosive report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which outlines state-run Russian doping at the Sochi Olympics and other major sports events.

The 169 sportspeople who have been invited to attend will compete under the banner of "Olympic athletes from Russia" and will fly the Olympic flag rather than the Russian one.

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The IOC rejects the allegations of tolerance toward Russian Federation.

Elistratov said he had suffered from the uncertainty surrounding the status of Russian athletes ahead of the Games.

Russian athletes can not wear their national colors, flaunt their country's symbols or be serenaded by its anthem at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

They also said they would respect the choice of athletes who chose to stay behind. He pointed to a direct threat from a Russian IOC honorary member who said Rodchenkov should be shot.

"I think a problem [with doping] exists in every country, but what we are witnessing now is an attempt to get rid of those who can win medals".

The distraction of the Olympic Games has been an ingredient in Russian leader Vladimir Putin's aggressive foreign policy in recent years.

World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie has launched a staunch defence of the global agency's role in the Russian drugs scandal. He became a Russian citizen to represent the hosts at the Sochi Games.

"We're very pleased that the president of CAS yesterday made the offer to have a round table forum with stakeholders to see what they need to do". ". The best thing we can do for clean sport is to make sure there is a really strong anti-doping agency in Russian Federation".

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