IOC to bar Olympic Athletes of Russia from celebrating with Russian flag

Court hears Russian athletes' appeals

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has defended the organization's handling of the Russian Federation doping scandal ahead of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

In December, the IOC banned Russia from competing as a team the 2018 Winter Olympics, citing the Russian state's "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the Olympic anti-doping system.

Dozens of Russians, including some who had not been named in the investigations or had any prior doping offences but were still not invited, have since lodged appeals with CAS seeking to be admitted to the Games.

As well as Ahn, a six-time short-track Olympic champion, the group includes Sochi 2014 biathlon gold medallist Anton Shipulin and Sergei Ustyugov, a cross-country skiing world champion.

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of - A verbal exchange between a Canadian and a Russian at the Pyeongchang Games has prompted an apology, of sorts, from Canada's Olympic team.

Just three days before the start of the Games, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said it opened arbitration proceedings following an urgent request from the 32 athletes.

But Bach said: "The absence of sanctions by CAS does not mean that you are entitled to receive an invitation from the International Olympic Committee because receiving this invitation is a privilege of clean Russian athletes".

The International Olympic Committee is attempting to bar over 40 Russian athletes from the Games for alleged doping violations.

The 15 were among 28 Russian athletes whose doping charges were dropped and life-time Olympic bans rescinded by CAS Thursday.

The organizing committee reported no confirmed cases among athletes.

On Sunday, IOC President Thomas Bach called the CAS ruling "extremely disappointing and surprising" and said it showed the Swiss-based CAS needs "reforms".

CAS reviewed each of the cases on individual basis and did not find evidence against 28 athletes to be sufficient. Decisions on their participation will now be made on the eve of the opening ceremony at the earliest.

Track and field athlete Yulia Stepanova and her husband Vitaly, who went public about doping in Russian Federation back in 2014, has accused WADA of doing nothing after they had tried for years to pass on information to the anti-doping body. Other than their names, their jerseys bore only one tag: "Olympic Athlete From Russia - a requirement of anti-doping penalties against their country".

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