A group of 47 Russian athletes and coaches who challenged the International Olympic Committee’s decision to bar them from participating in this year’s games has been shut down by an appeals court.
In December, the IOC banned Russia from competing in Pyeongchang because of its state-sponsored doping program (which the country continues to deny). A set of 169 Russian athletes who were thought to be clean have been permitted to compete, but only as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” and without the nation’s flag, officials or anthem. The Russian athletes who had been barred over the doping program appealed the decision, saying that there was not enough evidence to link each of them individually to cheating. Today, the Court of Arbitration for Sport denied them—just nine hours before the opening ceremony is scheduled to begin.
The athletes who will not be allowed to compete include short-track speedskater Viktor Ahn, who has six gold medals; world champion biathlete Anton Shipulin; and skeleton racer Elena Nikitina, who took bronze at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
United States Olympic Committee board of directors member Anita DeFrantz said at a press conference that the USOC was “delighted with the outcome,” noting that “we were not particularly pleased with athletes we knew we were not clean having the opportunity to compete.”
Hannah Keyser contributed reporting from Pyeongchang.