Russian athletes appeal against IOC's Olympic bans, court says


The IOC ruled Tuesday individual Russians may still compete as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia".

Whether US athletes will be able to attend the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea remains an "open question", US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Wednesday night.

Putin said the ban looked like "an absolutely staged and politically motivated decision".

"I strongly suspect the total number of tests will be 20,000 by the time we get to the Games themselves", said Richard Budgett, IOC Medical and Scientific Director.

A star athlete and a medal hopeful in the winter games, An said he can't give up on his Olympic dreams adding he has been preparing for the event for four years.

Zhukov told the French news agency AFP he "apologized" to the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday for the "anti-doping violations" committed in his country in recent years. "But here, their country kind of went beyond what they needed to do to help their athletes improve their game".

The games will not be broadcast in the country because of the absence of a Russian national team.

"Why are our Olympians being banned from competing under the Russian flag and national symbols, if there is no state support for doping?"

There had been talk of Russian Federation boycotting the Pyeongchang Games by banning its athletes from taking part as neutrals, but that idea was ruled out by President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

A hard line has been taken by the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, or VGTRK, which said Tuesday that if Team Russia isn't competing in South Korea, it won't broadcast the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Ivan Melnikov, First Deputy Speaker in Russia's parliament on Tuesday called the ban "unthinkably harsh", the news agency Interfax reported.

Any Russian athlete who does compete in Pyeongchang must do so as an "Olympic Athlete from Russia" (OAR), in uniforms which bear that acronym.

In another development on Wednesday, 22 Russians disqualified from Sochi 2014 for doping offences and banned from the Olympics filed appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"What matters is that the commission wrote in its conclusions that there was no system of state support of doping in Russian Federation". It blames Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Moscow and Sochi testing laboratories, as a rogue employee.

His lawyer, Jim Walden, told reporters Tuesday, "Today's decision sends a powerful message that the International Olympic Committee has joined the world community in saying that Russia's cheating needs to be severely sanctioned".

It said the IOC's actions proved that "you can destroy a whole Olympic country on the basis of indirect evidence and a single witness who was under a criminal investigation and has been treated in a psychiatric hospital".

Reacting to the IOC's moves Tuesday, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun said, "The IOC took a strong and principled decision".