Russian athletes lose appeal to compete in 2018 Winter Olympics

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Russian athletes lose appeal to compete in 2018 Winter Olympics

Russia's desperate attempt to get 45 banned athletes - including several medal favorites - into the Pyeongchang Olympics failed just hours before Friday's opening ceremony.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) invited 169 Russians to compete as independent athletes in Pyeongchang after their country was banned from the Games.

There were 168 Russians who passed the vetting process.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it would likely hear the case Wednesday in Pyeongchang.

Picture of the logo of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) taken on September 20, 2016 at the headquarter of the organisation in Montreal.

"That's it. The story is over, " Russian delegation spokesman Konstantin Vybornov said. "The CAS Panel found that the applicants did not demonstrate that the manner in which the two special commissions, the Invitation Review Panel and the Olympic Athlete from Russia Implementation Group, independently evaluated the applicants was carried out in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unfair manner".

International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Adams said: "We welcome this decision which supports the fight against doping and brings clarity for all athletes".

WADA president Craig Reedie described it as "absolutely correct".

Also out are cross-country skiing gold medalist Alexander Legkov and skeleton gold medalist Alexander Tretiakov, as well as potential medal contenders in biathlon, luge and bobsled. Neither athlete has previously served a doping ban.

However, the CAS decision may not be the end of the matter. It's not clear how that process would work. "It means the games can proceed".

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The screening process was honed into place for Russian athletes after the wide-spread doping scandal was revealed during the Sochi Winter Olympics of 2014. The Russians will have to compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" and will do so under the Olympic flag at the PyeongChang Games if they're invited.

The IOC headquarters is pictured on the day of a meeting on sanctions for Russian athletes.

Speaker of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin has called for a firm response from his colleagues to the recent Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling, which denied Olympic entry to 47 Russian athletes.

The venue, which uses "Russia in My Heart" as a slogan for the team, also puts Russian and Soviet sporting prowess on display.

Mutko, who in December was banned for life from the Olympics, told Russian news agency TASS: "The procedure of inviting or not inviting is similar those of a commercial private club tournament".

Friday's verdict, he said, is "a small semblance of justice for clean athletes".

So what's up with all those "OAR" athletes you'll see during this year's Winter Olympics?

Russian athletes competing in Pyeongchang must follow a code of conduct that prevents them from wearing their country colours and advises them against posting national symbols on social media.

It is not exactly the height of the Cold War, but there is always a frisson when the US meets Russian Federation as it did in the opening curling match of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

US bobsledder Nick Cunningham said he has tried to not focus on the will-they-or-won't-they drama surrounding the Russians. If you're not a clean athlete then you should not compete. I was hoping that CAS would take our side.

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