Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
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Russian Federation says court rejected appeal from athletes under pressure

Russian Federation says court rejected appeal from athletes under pressure

Underneath, a white T-shirt with a simple message - "I Don't Do Doping".

The IOC banned Russian Federation from taking part in the Pyeongchang Games, but inexplicably left open the possibility of individuals being allowed to compete if they could prove they were clean.

In December, the International Olympic Committee suspended Russian Federation over a state-sponsored doping conspiracy culminating in its hosting of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. "And begging for invitations all the time is beyond reasonable", he said.

"But unfortunately, this is the reality, and we have what we have".

The Games officially open later on Friday and run to 25 February.

"All athletes are happy to compete at the Games".

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko likened the Olympics to an exclusive membership club after 45 Russian athletes were denied an invitation to the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

"I don't know why, but they've started talking to us more than ever before".

"We can't see what has enabled those athletes to demonstrate that they are clean".

Truth: under the law, you can get away with a lot of stuff.

The ruling followed a CAS announcement on Thursday (February 8) claimed it did not have the jurisdiction to deal with cases filed by six Russian athletes, including speed skaters Denis Yuskov and Pavel Kulizhnikov, and seven coaches.

The only Russians to turn up with some swagger are the men's hockey team, the favorite for gold since the NHL is not participating. And so, the 169 permitted Slavic entities will now have to compete under the diminutive title of: OAR (Olympic Athlete from Russia). Dozens of fans at figure skating Friday dressed in national colors, waved the flag and held signs spelling out "Russia in My Heart".

The stripping of a name, to denote shame, does not of course strip Russian athletes of their country, and, may not be enough to break their cool when it comes to competing.

They even have an office in the Main Press Center adorned with a very official-looking sign for "Olympic Athletes From Russia", the charade of a title that was nothing more than a disgraced nation's "Get Out of Jail Free" card from the IOC. On the podium, they'll stand under the Olympic flag as the Olympic anthem plays.

The IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency welcomed the decision.

Among those appealing on Friday were athletes who were not sanctioned for doping in their careers and were not named specifically in the investigations but were still excluded from the Games, with the International Olympic Committee saying the evidence was there as was suspicion of wrong-doing. In practice, they're one of the biggest teams in Pyeongchang, with an ROC vice president as team leader and a fully staffed media office.

Jim Walden, the lawyer for Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, renewed calls for IOC President Thomas Bach to resign "for the sake of the Olympic ideal".

The team of 168 could swell yet further.

The IOC in December determined that Russian athletes who proved they were clean would be allowed to compete as neutrals in the Games.

"Today's decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which blocked doped Russian athletes from admission to the Olympics, is a small semblance of justice for clean athletes", Walden said in a statement. "And why the International Olympic Committee rushed the process on the Sochi medal decisions is unexplainable and a tragedy for clean athletes".

"Other factors to consider include operational issues, the balance of the approximately 208 sessions on the schedule, the exposure of each sport, and the satisfaction of the different stakeholders, including the athletes".

The Russian fans are already showing their defiance.

For Sergeeva, there's a silver lining to her neutral uniform.

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