32 Russians appeal to CAS in late bid
SIX-TIME Olympic gold medalist Viktor Ahn and three former NHL players are among 32 Russian athletes who filed appeals yesterday seeking spots at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
The 32 athletes all failed to pass the mandatory International Olympic Committee vetting — imposed as a result of Russian doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics — and weren’t invited to the Games.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it would likely hear the case today in Pyeongchang. If the Russian athletes force the IOC to invite them, it would mean the medal contenders in some sports change dramatically only days before the Games open on Friday.
CAS added that as well as short-track speedskating great Ahn, the 32 include world cross-country skiing champion Sergei Ustyugov and world biathlon champion Anton Shipulin.
Also on the list are former NHL players Sergei Plotnikov, Anton Belov and Valeri Nichushkin, who had been considered possible candidates for the Russian team in Pyeongchang.
If figure skater Ksenia Stolbova is invited, she could compete as soon as Friday morning in the pairs short program component of the team event.
Some of the 32 Russians are already in neighboring countries like Japan so they will be acclimatized and ready to travel to Pyeongchang if invited.
John Coates, the Australian IOC member who also oversees CAS operations, said yesterday that the 32 had also filed appeals in Swiss courts, but didn’t give details.
The IOC hasn’t said why any of the individual Russians weren’t invited, but did say it used a newly available database detailing past doping when it decided who should be eligible.
It is a separate case from the 28 Russian athletes who last week overturned doping bans from the 2014 Olympics at CAS. The IOC is also refusing to invite 13 of those that are still active.