Saturday, 17 February, 2018

Olympics doping scandal takes recent twist as Russians blocked

Just How Cold Is It At The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics? Olympics doping scandal takes recent twist as Russians blocked
Sherri Watson | 07 February, 2018, 02:09

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.

It was Dr Rodchenkov's admission of guilt and the providing of evidence to WADA's McLaren Report that led to Russian Federation being suspended - as a nation - from the games. Sport's highest tribunal had found that there wasn't sufficient evidence to carry out the bans that the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

Olympics chief Thomas Bach called for reforms to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Sunday as he slammed its "extremely disappointing" decision to lift the life bans for doping imposed on 28 Russian athletes. "We are confident with the extremely large amount of work.that has gone into making sure that there will be a path for clean athletes to compete at these Games". "So far, the panel was not able to deliver the reason for the decision, which we are eagerly waiting for, and we have asked the CAS to speed this procedure up".

The battle to compete may not be over even if the court upholds the appeals.

CAS ruled there was insufficient evidence to show they had broken doping rules during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. However, CAS reduced their lifetime Olympic bans to a "suspension from this year's Games" (REUTERS, 2/1).

Meanwhile, in a surprise move on Monday, officers of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) tested 16 Russian female ice hockey players ahead of a training session at Pyeongchang. While the athletes wore their IOC-approved "neutral" uniforms without the Russian flag - gray for men, red for women - the event was "full of patriotic gestures".

At least 168 Russian athletes are participating in the Games, according to the PyeongChang official website. "The foundation for the claim is non-transparent nature of the criteria applied, discrimination on the basis of citizenship, unlawful nature of the decision, as well as non-fulfillment of the CAS ruling, damage to reputation, dignity and professional careers", the statement said.

The IOC responded by saying that did not mean those athletes, or any of the other uninvited Russians, could join their carefully-vetted compatriots in the OAR team, although that has now gone to CAS as well, with a hearing on Wednesday, two days before the opening ceremony.

"We have many expensive tickets left, so we need some emergency measures to boost ticket sales", Lee Hee-beom told the website insidethegames.com. We're very confident with the stance we've taken.

"We share the distress, uncertainty and frustration expressed by many athletes on the news of this ruling and believe this decision to be a massive setback for clean sport", the committee said in a statement on Tuesday.