Court of Arbitration for Sport overturns doping bans on Russian athletes

But the global Court of Arbitration for Sport, hearing appeals from more than 40 different Russian athletes, announced Thursday, days before the Opening Ceremony, that it has overturned lifetime Olympics bans for 28 of those competitors.

In a landmark ruling on Thursday morning, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled there was insufficient evidence the 28 were part of a state-backed doping system and reinstated their results from the previous Games in Sochi.

An Olympic disciplinary panel, chaired by IOC executive board member Denis Oswald, previous year investigated 46 Russian athletes and found 43 guilty of complicity in a Sochi doping program.

Sport's highest tribunal, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, earlier today overturned a ruling that barred 28 Russian athletes for life from participating in the Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the International Olympic Committee suspensions - for doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics - partially upholding 11 other appeals.

And speaking of cheaters, 28 Russian Olympic athletes have had their doping bans lifted. The Russian team initially won 33 medals in Sochi, including 13 golds, to put it ahead of Norway and Canada.

"Seventeen months on, we face a different picture in Russian Federation and it is important that once again our decision is necessary and proportionate to what is in front of us", he said.

Plenty big enough to make the grotesque subterfuge of Sochi, the tampering with doping-control samples and covering up for Russian cheats, seem not so serious after all.

Individual Russian athletes are able to compete as neutrals if they can prove their anti-doping credentials, but the International Olympic Committee said Thursday that the 28 would not necessarily be invited to Pyeongchang.

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The 18 points were five more than Tatum had scored combined in the previous two games. In fact, he'll be missing up to two weeks with the unusual injury.

Cas's decision means that the 28 are theoretically free to compete in Pyeongchang, where the Games start next week, and in some cases will have medals returned.

The decision by CAS, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, was also criticized by the lawyer of former Russian anti-doping official Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, who was forced to flee to the United States after becoming the main whistleblower in the scandal.

It wasn't immediately clear how numerous 28 Russians would now seek to compete.

Others included biathlete Anton Shipulin and cross-country skier Sergei Ustyugov.

The cleared 28, which includes Sochi cross-country gold medallist Alexander Legkov, are now eligible to compete in the Pyeongchang Olympics, but their participation is by no means certain.

"This may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping", said the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"I share the IOC's disappointment and I agree with the stand they have taken, " Australian Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said. And they do retain the right to block all of the athletes who have been cleared today on this very unusual evidence that was put forward.

"It's a big victory for them and I'm relieved that justice has finally been done", Philippe Baertsch, a lawyer for the athletes, told The Associated Press.

Kolobkov says "the criteria for not allowing in our athletes. were based on criteria which partly intersect with the conclusions" challenged in the appeal cases, "so this raises a lot of legal questions". "What anti-doping rule violation do they want to slap against me?"

  • Regina Holmes