24th January 2018

IOC to issue list of invited Russians before CAS hearings are complete

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) plans to issue a list of Olympic Athletes from Russia (ROC) invited to compete at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) issues its decision regarding athletes who have appealed against lifetime bans from the Olympics. A final list of invited Russians will be published at the OAR Delegation Registration Meeting (DRM) on 27 January in PyeongChang, however a CAS decision on the 22 athletes who have filed appeals is not expected before 28 January.

On 19 January, the IOC established a ‘pool of clean athletes’ comprising 389 Russians, reduced from 500, however clarified that ‘invitations can be issued only at the OAR Delegation Registration Meeting (DRM) on 27 January 2018 in PyeongChang. Therefore, a final list of invited athletes cannot be published before that date.’ The panel also recommended that 51 coaches and ten medical staff cannot be offered an invitation to the Games.

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has written to the IOC asking why some athletes seemingly not implicated in doping have been excluded from the 2018 Games, which open on 9 February. However despite this apparent secrecy, it appears that the IOC sent the ROC the list.

On Tuesday, ROC Vice President Stanislav Pozdnyakov complained that athletes not implicated in doping had been refused permission to participate. “For example, Viktor Ahn, Anton Shipulin and Sergey Ustyugov were not defendants in proceedings under the Oswald Commission, they have never been involved in any doping stories and the many tests completed during their career indicate that they are clean athletes”, he said in a statement. Korean-born Ahn is a six time Olympic champion in short track speed skating; Shipulin was a member of the Russian team that took gold in the 2014 Winter Olympics biathlon relay and Ustyugov has twice won cross country skiing world championships.

At a press conference yesterday, Pozdnyakov and Russia’s Minister of Sport, Pavel Kolobkov, said that the list it received from the IOC was preliminary, and that the ROC is working on a final list of athletes for submission to the IOC that includes all of its strongest athletes. “The ROC has send the IOC a letter asking it to clarify the criteria that guided the formation of the IOC guest lists”, said Kolobkov. “The decision made was unfounded and extremely distressing. We are waiting for clarification from the IOC as to the reasons why the provisional list does not include athletes who are leaders not only in Russia, but the entire sporting world.”

“The IOC Executive Board decision of 5 December, of which we are all aware, contains three distinct criteria and a fourth which is vague – that the IOC may nominate additional concerns”, said Pozdnyakov, referring to the IOC criteria mandating that it can exclude a Russian athlete or official due to ‘Any other requirement considered necessary to protect the integrity of the Olympic Games’. “In connection to this, we appealed to the IOC to provide explanations of what kind of additional criteria and how they apply to our athletes […] The decision of the IOC is preliminary, and we do not accept it. We are confident that we can prove it. Our athletes have passed dozens – if not hundreds – of doping tests, including voluntary testing. This speaks volumes about their purity and honesty.”

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