Olympic doping bans overturned for 28 Russians
MOSCOW — Twenty-eight Russian athletes had their Olympic doping bans overturned Thursday, throwing the International Olympic Committee's policy on the country into turmoil.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling was set to reinstate seven Russian medals from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, including gold in men's skeleton and men's 50-kilometer cross-country skiing.
“This does not mean that these 28 athletes are declared innocent, but in their case, due to insufficient evidence, the appeals are upheld, the sanctions annulled and their individual results achieved in Sochi are reinstated,” CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb said in Pyeongchang.
The IOC said it had taken note of the CAS decision “with satisfaction on the one hand and disappointment on the other,” adding the decision “may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping.”
The 28 who had their bans lifted now can seek late entry into the Pyeongchang Olympics, but the IOC said “not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the ruling “can't fail to please us, and it confirms our position that the overwhelming majority of our athletes are clean athletes.”
However, Putin also called for respect for the IOC, saying in comments reported by state news agency RIA Novosti that “there should not be any euphoria from our side, and we need to be calm about this.”
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said at a televised cabinet meeting that the government would back further legal action to allow the athletes to compete in Pyeongchang “if the IOC does not accept them.”
Eleven more Russians were ruled to have been guilty of doping but had lifetime bans imposed by an IOC disciplinary panel two months ago cut to a ban only from the Pyeongchang Games, which open next week.