This iconic image from the 1972 Munich Olympics represents a turning point in sports
04 February, 2018, 02:25
Lifetime Olympic ban for doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games on twenty-eight Russian athletes was lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport [Cas] on Thursday.
"With respect to these 28 athletes, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled, and their individual results achieved in Sochi 2014 are reinstated", a CAS statement said.
Following the CAS's positive ruling, the 28 athletes will be listed as participants of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang that is scheduled for February 9-25.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) based in Lausanne, which has jurisdiction over anti-doping violations, said "the evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation. was committed by the athletes concerned".
The North Koreans are the second and final batch of 22 athletes from their country who have won special entries from the International Olympic Committee for the February 9-25 games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The IOC decisions in these matters are confirmed, with one exception.
"In this context, it is also important to note that, in his press conference, the CAS Secretary General insisted that the CAS decision "does not mean that these 28 athletes are declared innocent".
The International Olympic Committee says almost 170 Russians were already invited to compete under a neutral flag and these 28 athletes are not guaranteed to be invited back.
The IOC stressed in a statement that the CAS ruling did not "automatically" confer a Pyeongchang invitation on the 28 athletes.
"We are very glad for our athletes", Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
CAS's verdict drew a whithering response from Jim Walden, the lawyer of doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov. It said the fact CAS had confirmed doping violations by 11 athletes "clearly demonstrates once more the existence of a systematic manipulation" at Sochi and that the International Olympic Committee regrets CAS did not apply this "proven existence" for the other 28.
Last week's mass CAS hearings were as a result of allegations of a vast state-sponsored doping programme contained in the report into Sochi authored by sports law professor Richard McLaren for the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Those reinstated at the Sochi Olympics include skeleton gold-medalist Aleksander Tretyakov and cross-country-skiing gold-medalist Aleksander Legkov.
A total of 43 Russians were originally banned over doping offences at the Sochi Olympics.
US men's skeleton veteran Matt Antoine won bronze in Sochi, and now presumably won't move up to silver with Tretiakov's result reinstated.
"The CAS decisions today prove that many of those who have been accused are in fact clean athletes", he added. If they win, the Olympic anthem will be played.
"Having been deprived of the chance to compete for the Olympic podium in the team pursuit, I do not accept the IOC invitation for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang".
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