IOC refuses Russian athletes' request to participate in 2018 Winter Olympics

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By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
IOC refuses Russian athletes' request to participate in 2018 Winter Olympics

The International Olympic Committee review panel declined a request for 13 Russian athletes and two coaches, cleared of doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, to attend the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

“The Panel unanimously recommended that the IOC not extend an invitation to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 to the 15 individuals requested by the suspended ROC [Russian Olympic Committee],” said a committee's statement on Monday.

CAS had overturned the doping ban for 28 Russian athletes on February 1 on the basis that there was "insufficient" evidence that the athletes had broken anti-doping rules.

Following the court's ruling, the Russian Olympic Committee sent a request for late entry to the Winter Games for 13 Russian athletes and two coaches.

But the IOC said that after analysing each athlete on a case-by-case basis, there were additional elements that raised suspicion “about the integrity of the athletes.”

“The additional information included data from the LIMS database, traces of prohibited substances, evidence of steroid profile manipulation and further confidential information provided to the Panel by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).”

The IOC added that “the decision of the CAS had not lifted the suspicion of doping or given the Panel sufficient confidence to recommend to the OAR IG that those 13 athletes could be considered as clean.”

No additional invitations will be extended to the 15 individuals, said the statement.

Eleven other athletes were ruled to have been guilty of doping but had lifetime bans cut to just a ban from South Korea’s Olympics.

After the CAS decision last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin had praised the court's ruling to overturn the doping ban, saying the decision “proved [the Russian position], which is that a vast majority of our athletes are clean and did not commit doping.”