Forty-two of 43 Russian athletes handed lifetime Olympic bans for doping at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi have lodged appeals with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the tribunal said on Tuesday.
The announcement comes in response to the sanctions imposed by the International Olympic Committee following allegations of state-sponsored doping by hosts Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Twenty-two of those banned and disqualified by the IOC including cross-country skier Alexander Legkov and bobsledder Aleksandr Zubkov – both stripped of their gold medals from Sochi – filed appeals with CAS before Christmas.
Zukbov has since retired from the sport and is now head of the Russian bobsleigh federation, although his suspension – along with that of other former athletes occupying similar posts – prevents him from attending competitions or official events.
Others, meanwhile, are still hopeful of taking part in this year’s Olympics in Pyeongchang, with a final decision on each case expected to be issued before the end of the month. Bobsledder Maxim Belugin was the only one of the 43 athletes banned not to launch an appeal.
CAS also confirmed that the Russian Olympic Committee, currently suspended by the IOC, had decided not to appeal to CAS, sport’s highest court.
Russia had originally finished top of the medals table in Sochi, but has lost 13 of the 33 medals won at the 2014 Olympics, slipping down to fourth overall behind Norway, Canada and the United States.
The country has been banned from taking part at the 2018 Winter Olympics due to this widespread doping. However, athletes who prove themselves to be clean have been told by the IOC they can compete under strict conditions, and under a neutral flag.
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