The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has overturned Olympic life bans on 28 Russian athletes for doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics. CAS also partially upheld 11 more bans, leaving them ineligible for the 2018 Winter Olympics but overturning their life bans.
The athletes appealed their life bans, handed down by the International Olympic Committee after the McLaren Reports confirmed a massive, state-sponsored doping program within Russia. The Court of Arbitration for Sport heard the appeals and found in 28 cases that there was “insufficient” evidence to confirm that a violation of anti-doping rules had occurred. Those athletes (ranging from bobsleigh to skeleton to cross country skiing to speed skating to luge) will have their 2014 Olympic results reinstated and will be immediately eligible for Olympic competition both this year and in the future.
In 11 cases, CAS found sufficient evidence for anti-doping rules violations, but softened the IOC’s original punishment. Instead of being banned from the Olympics for life, those 11 athletes will be banned from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics but eligible for future Olympic competition. That list also includes bobsledders, cross-country skiiers and ice hockey players.
You can read the full CAS decision here.
The IOC released a statement supporting the confirmation of doping violations in the 11 athletes, but expressing “regret” that the 28 other athletes were cleared in spite of the evidence in favor of a state-run doping program within Russia. You can read the full IOC statement below:
IOC Statement on CAS decision
The IOC has taken note of the CAS decision, with satisfaction on the one hand and disappointment on the other.
On the one hand, the confirmation of the Anti-Doping Rule Violations for 11 athletes because of the manipulation of their samples clearly demonstrates once more the existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.
On the other hand, the IOC regrets very much that – according to the CAS press release – the panels did not take this proven existence of the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping system into consideration for the other 28 cases. The CAS required an even higher threshold on the necessary level of evidence than the Oswald Commission and former CAS decisions.
This may have a serious impact on the future fight against doping. Therefore, the IOC will analyse the reasoned decisions very carefully once they are available and consider consequences, including an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.
With regard to the participation of athletes from Russia at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the decision of the IOC Executive Board (EB) of 5 December 2017 remains in place. It makes it clear that, since the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) is suspended, Russian athletes can participate in PyeongChang only on invitation by the IOC.
The result of the CAS decision does not mean that athletes from the group of 28 will be invited to the Games. Not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation. In this context, it is also important to note that, in his press conference, the CAS Secretary General insisted that the CAS decision “…does not mean that these 28 athletes are declared innocent”.