Tribunal overturns doping bans on 28 Russian athletes

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Chairman of the Anti-Doping Initiative, Alexei Kozlov, told Pravda.Ru that the recent decision of the International Olympic Committee to ban many clean Russian athletes from the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang was undoubtedly an act of political pressure.

Doping means using a drug or other substance illegally to improve an athlete's performance.

The IOC invited 169 Russians to compete under a neutral flag, but may now be forced to allow in athletes it deems dopers, eight days before the Games begin.

The Swiss-based court said there was insufficient evidence to show that certain Russian athletes had broken anti-doping rules.

The court found that 11 other athletes would remain banned from the Games in Pyeongchang instead of a lifetime ban.

The McLaren report found that more than 1,000 Russian athletes had benefited from doping.

Thursday's decision could impact Canada's medal count in Sochi. All were stripped of their medals and handed lifetime bans.

Uhlaender finished fourth in Sochi, one spot behind Elena Nikitina of Russian Federation.

"CAS required an even higher threshold on the necessary evidence than the Oswald Commission and former CAS decisions", it said with thinly veiled dismay.

There has been a positive development for Russia's athletes in the doping saga.

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The Russian director of the laboratory which handled samples for the Sochi Games, Grigory Rodchenkov, said he gave cocktails of banned steroids to athletes and swapped tainted samples for clean urine on orders from Russian state sports officials.

The IOC regretted that CAS "did not take this proven existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system into consideration for the other 28 cases".

It would be a considerable boost to the chances to Russian success, considering the likes of Sochi 2014 men's skeleton gold medallist Aleksandr Tretiakov and cross-country gold medallist Alexander Legkov are among those to have had sanctions overturned.

Given the certainty that Russian cheating has always been rampant, that is a bloody nose for IOC President Thomas Bach and his policy of Russian appeasement.

"Thus, the CAS decision only emboldens cheaters, makes it harder for clean athletes to win and provides yet another ill-gotten gain for the corrupt Russian doping system generally, and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin specifically".

"It is outrageous that there is no concrete reason which explains my exclusion from the Olympics, and furthermore people now view me as an athlete who used doping", Ahn said.

The news was greeted with frustration by Rodchenkov's lawyer, Jim Walden. This manipulation had been exposed by the WADA-commissioned independent McLaren Investigation Parts I and II.

The Russian team initially won 33 medals in Sochi, including 13 golds, to put it ahead of Norway and Canada but they slipped to fourth after the IOC-imposed sanctions. Two CAS appeal panels heard 39 of those cases last week in Geneva.

"Not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation", the International Olympic Committee said in a statement.

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